Anxiety over the computer virus known as Conficker is at a fever pitch today, especially among 60 Minutes viewers. News to you? Here's a brief synopsis: A computer worm, apparently created by a group of young Russian hackers (yes, really...I know it's April Fools Day, but yes, really), has infiltrated some 10 million computers around the world. So far, the worm has just been sitting there, awaiting instructions -- instructions scheduled to arrive...TODAY!
Responsible news organizations are taking care not to be too alarmist about it all. Actually, that last sentence is an April Fools joke: 60 Minutes called Conficker "one of the most dangerous threats ever." The local tech community is similarly freaked out, with the Redwood Technology Consortium 's internal mailing list abuzz with back-and-forth. One member fretted that Internet malware "is analogous to the Presidential Daily Briefing in August right before the tragic events of 9/11."
Other members assured the group that the sky will not fall, and indeed, it still seems to be up there, just above the horizon. Granted, the virus' presence is unnerving, so if you're concerned, head on over to Wired's Threat Level Conficker War Room , a hilariously meta-media response:
Threat Level was skeptical last week that Conficker would do anything more than send spam. But since then we've become aware of dramatic new evidence that reporting on a doomsday worm is good for page views.
1:25 p.m. EDT : Tori Spelling's weight has dropped to a frail 98 pounds. Star magazine blames her mother. I blame Conficker.