Make sure you're prepared for the Conficker Worm

If you've turned on the TV in the past 24 hours, you've likely heard of the Conficker worm, known as Downadup to its friends, which is set to receive a set of mysterious and possibly disastrous instructions come April 1. WalletPop first covered this virus back in January, urging readers to download a Microsoft Update for protection. We examined the larger efforts at containing the worm last week.

Now that the eve of activation is upon us we wanted to give you a few more resources for making sure you are protected.

If you have your Microsoft Windows Updates configured to automatically install, then it's likely that you don't have anything to worry about. If your updating is lackadaisical and you want to find and fix your Conficker infestation yourself, there's still hope. Several vendors are offering free removal tools aimed specifically at the Conficker/Downadup worm.

Removal tools via

Now would be the right time to check your own computer and those of any family and friends you provide technical support for. Even though we don't know what will happen tomorrow, you're better off fixing this problem now, especially since virus removal and data retrieval can be a costly undertaking.

If you want to protect yourself against future infections without paying for antivirus protection, check out these nine free antivirus programs for Windows.

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