Keith McCord ReportingComputer users around the world are learning about, and in some cases being infected with, a fast-spreading internet worm called "Sasser".
The worm finds its way into computers running the Windows 2000, NT and XP operating systems. Home computers have been hit the hardest. The worm has infected computers worldwide-- in the U.S., Europe, Asia.
If your computer has it, you certainly know it! It is fixable and preventable, but here's the real message: computer worms and viruses are a fact of life, and to avoid problems like this, all of us have to take action every day!
Steve Scott, Univ. of Utah Information Technology Dept.: “Update your antivirus every day, if not hourly. Check for patches for your operating system weekly.”
U of U computer expert Steve Scott says computer users are not out of the woods just yet with the Sasser worm. But it will eventually slow down as more people download the so-called "patches" that will protect their computers.
At PC Laptops in Sandy, owner Dan Young says his technicians have seen a spike in calls since Sasser started spreading a few days ago.
Dan Young, Owner, PC Laptops: "Quite a bit. In fact we've got a lot of people with all kinds of laptop computers bringing them in because they're wondering why their computers are shutting down. And a good scan will usually catch that."
Who did this? There are some theories that the creators of this bug are part of a group who are in Russia. Apparently this worm resembles others that have been created before.
Computer experts agree that viruses and worms are just a fact of life now because there are so many people creating them.
Steve Scott: "There is a war going on right now. There are 30 different variances of the more recent viruses because they're trying to out-do each other."
If there's a silver lining here, the Sasser worm will cause you headaches, but it won't delete anything.
Dan Young: "It actually re-boots your computer and shuts down your network. But as of so far, we haven’t seen data loss or files disappearing, and that's really a good thing."
There are a number of web sites that provide updated worm and virus information-- and those sites will send you automatic alerts.