The virus that began affecting computers Monday is keeping local computer stores over-run with sick computers. On Saturday, the worm is expected to hinder even more computers along the information superhighway.
So far, the worm has disabled hundreds of computers here in Lubbock. In fact, the CompUSA store is flooded with dozens of computers infected with the worm, and they are expecting those numbers to rise through the weekend. Without certain precautions, your computer may be at risk.
Antivrus software is flying off store shelves at Lubbock computer stores. General manager of CompUSA, Gregg Morgan, says he's received dozens of computers this week infected with the so called "Blaster" worm.
"Three so far (Saturday), supposedly there's another strain coming out (Saturday) that's gonna hit," says Gregg.
The second strain is expected to hit almost half a million computers after 200,000 were initially infected this week.
"So far, it's only affected machines with the latter operating systems like Windows XP Home, or XP Pro, Windows 2000, Windows 2003 server. It's really designed to be a network type virus," says Gregg.
Unlike many viruses and worms that spread through e-mail, the Blaster worm infects computers through the internet. It enters the machine through Windows programs and causes computers to shut down over and over again. Then, causes the newly infected computer to look for other computers to infect.
"This virus really isn't designed to damage machines. It's just designed to shut them down, so the issue you would have is if you try to work on your machine it's gonna give you an error and make the machine restart or reboot," says Gregg.
The good news is the worm is more annoying than destructive. It doesn't destroy files, but it will slow down your computer and cause it to crash. Once the worm is inside rebooting won't help. Even your current virus scanning software is useless in fighting it.
"If it hasn't been updated in a long time is what we find the most common errors are, if it hasn't been updated, you're not gonna be protected," says Gregg.
Computer experts there say your best defense is to update your virus scanning software. To know if your computer is infected, first you might receive an error message saying "RPC buffer overflow" or you may not get that but your computer will shut down within just minutes of turning it on and may shut down repeatedly.
If any of these things happen, you need to take your computer to a technician to have it repaired. Right now, CompUSA is repairing computers for under $20.