April Fools'! Conficker Worm Struck Yesterday, Already Has Your Passwords, Credit Card Numbers

Pictured: a family enjoys a good laugh about Conficker.

The nefarious Conficker.c worm that was rumored to strike on April 1st played an April Fools' Joke on PC users everywhere and went active on March 31st, stealing passwords and credit card numbers to the delight and surprise of users across the globe, including you.

The was not supposed to strike until midnight, April 1st, but the wily jokesters behind the Internet prank launched their fraudulent hijinks one day early to really get you good.

"April Fools! Just when you thought it was safe, you shouldn't have bought those U2 tickets from ticketmaster.com, or launched your U.S. Bank online profile yesterday," said former White House cybersecurity adviser Howard A. Schmidt. "Now the perpetrators behind this clever ruse undoubtedly have your credit card number, screen name, password, mother's maiden name, the types of porn you like, and just about anything else you could imagine. Joke's on you!"

Because you waited until today to launch your Windows Update, the Conficker worm has already infected your computer. Rooting out the virus would require you to boot into safe mode and running a specialized tool, neither of which you know how to do.

"Oh," you said, beginning to chuckle as you realized that your computer has just stolen most of your identity a day earlier than you expected it to. "Hey, that's pretty good!"

Others infected with the worm agreed with you.

"How's that for a practical joke?" said mechanical engineer Erin Barkin. "They really got me, I tell you. One minute I'm drafting the specs for a new heating system we're designing, the next minute our whole company is locked out of our account, and we have no email, server or Internet access. Boy, they really got us, didn't they? April Fools', everyone!"

The joke, said Barkin, had him laughing all the way to the IT Department. "That was better than the time my roommate put gay-fisting porn on my PC desktop for my girlfriend to find," he said with a laugh. "It took a long time to live that one down. I hope this one blows over a bit easier."

Some people, however, are not laughing. The worm does not affect Mac users, who are disappointed to be left out of the fun.

"Once again, the world caters to PC users," fumed Art Polker, a Mac user in Sacramento, California. "Just once, I'd like to be able to experience the joy of a really well-done identity theft virus or worm on my Mac. Is that too much to ask?"

"I guess I'm just not cool enough to get computer worms," Polker added with a sigh.

Originators of the prank remain unknown, but are rumored to be German -- a people not often known for having such a wry sense of humor. "Until now, that is," said media researcher Hugh Troya of the Rutgers Center For Media Studies. "I mean, it's one thing to steal passwords and sensitive information, but to do it a day earlier than you said you would? Ha ha! If only [legendary prankster] Hugh Troy were around to see this!"

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