Conficker Worm Attack Getting Worse: Protect Yourself

Millions of Windows computers have been The situation is "not getting better," but rather is "getting worse," according to security software vendor F-Secure.

Read how .

In a , F-Secure security researchers report that the number of machines infected by the Downadup worm has skyrocketed from roughly 2.4 million to over 8.9 million in the last four days alone.

Downadup is a malicious worm that "uses computer or network resources to make complete copies of itself," according to F-Secure. And it may also include code or other malware that damages both a computer and network. The worm also goes by the names "Kido" and "Conflicker." Details on how it operates and how to remove it are .

Once executed, Downadup disables a number of system services, including Windows Automatic Update, Windows Security Center, Windows Defender, and Windows Error Reporting. The worm then connects to a malicious server, where it downloads additional malware to install on the infected computer. Computerworld provides a on Downadup's potential dangers.

Since Downadup uses random extension names to avoid detection, Windows users should make sure their security software is set to scan all files, rather than checking on specific extensions, F-Secure recommends.