"The reason that Conficker seems so different is partly because it's been so successful. It's an incredibly sophisticated worm and it updates itself constantly to get around attempts to stop it. So it's very clever and then on top of that the actual infection is much more widespread than anything we've ever seen.
"The best way to protect your computer from Conficker or any virus or worm is to make sure that you are running anti-virus software and or anti-spyware software and make sure that all of your Windows security settings are up to date. Windows can automatically update your security and you should definitely allow it to do that. If you're worried that you may have Conficker you can actually go to Internet Explorer and run Windows updates specifically to download all the latest patches to make sure you don't have the worm. On top of that you should make sure to back up your data because if you get any virus like this it can wipe it all out.
"If you think you might have Conficker at this point there are a couple of ways to tell. There are a couple of underground ways; it might interfere with network settings, or it might slow things down. The main way to get a sense of whether you have it is it actually interferes with your ability to visit security websites. So if you try to go to Symantec.com or even Microsoft.com you might find that you're unable to go to websites that allow you to download secirty solutions. That is probably the biggest give away that you're infected but for a lot of people they may not know and it's really unclear what will happen if anything when this worm is triggered.
"For the average computer user, it's easy to get really worried about something like this. But the main thing is that it's probably not going to affect you. A lot of times these worms are targeted at big corporate networks and for the average home user it might not be that big a deal.
"Just make sure your security is up to date and try not to panic."
The Conficker Working Group has posted a list of free removal tools online at http://www.confickerworkinggroup.org/wiki/pmwiki.php/ANY/RepairTools which will scan your system and remove the worm.