ZDNet (A CBS affiliate) has a video from 60 Minutes that covers the Conficker worm. Lesley Stahl does a pretty good job of covering both sides of the story and not making it entirely anti-Internet and doom-and-gloom.
What you should take from the article is this… Keeping your computer updated and secure with a good antivirus and firewall will help to protect you from the worms. But, diligence is still a requirement. I’m guilty of clicking past the Google Warnings. The only way that I do it is if I’m running Firefox with “No-Script” though. While I realize that this isn’t a cure-all or even a guarantee of anything, it’s better than running Internet Explorer or any other browser and having scripts execute as they will.
The point is this. You need to take more control of what happens with your computer. If you surf to a website and get an alert from your browser about the site, LEAVE. If you go to the website and get a pop up saying that your computer is infected, don’t click on the link. If you have to either right click on the taskbar where the window is open (it should be the one with focus) and choose Close, or press CTRL+Alt+Delete and choose Task Manager (or open it however you feel comfortable) then kill the iexplore.exe process (or find the one in the “Applications” tab and kill it there). In some cases, even clicking the “X” in the window will infect your computer.
Scan your computer on a regular basis (configure your antivirus to do a scan of ALL files at least weekly). Configure your antispyware to scan at least once a week also. And know that there is a difference between the two. While the antivirus may look for “spyware” and the antispyware may find “trojans”, each is better at detecting one or the other. So you need both, and you need to use both on a regular basis.
Make sure your Operating System (whether it be Windows, Linux, or Mac) is updated on a regular basis. If you have Automatic Updates set to install automatically, great. If you have it set to “Download and let me choose when to install” then by all means CHECK DAILY and install the updates. If you have it shut off, then either turn it on or disconnect your computer from the Internet NOW. You’re a time bomb waiting to explode. It may not be Conficker. And it may not even happen this year, but if you don’t update your computer it will happen eventually.
Yes you can still get infected if you do all of these things. Even Lesley Stahl interviewed a woman who was. But, if you do all of these things the chances of your getting infected are miniscule compared to if you don’t. I’m not trying to preach doom-and-gloom here. I’m only trying to make you face reality. You’re equally or more responsible for what happens with your computer than anyone else. It’s not Symantec or Kaspersky or even Google’s fault if you get infected. They’re doing the best that they can. But if you just surf as you want, and expect them to protect you—you’re in for a rude awakening.
The Internet is a dangerous place. But you know what? It’s no more dangerous than “Real Life”. If you go out and drive everywhere, and you leave your house and car unlocked, eventually you’ll be robbed or worse. Likewise, if you surf the Internet and you don’t take precautions to make sure that you’re secure, eventually you’re going to get robbed or worse.
So be safe, and have a great day:)