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Even if it's not an April Fools' joke, the latest moves by the dreaded Conficker worm are by no means an Internet Armageddon, either.
The worm's alarming outbreak entered a new phase Wednesday as clocks around the world ticked into the first day of April, the day it was scheduled to change programming.
But security experts appeared correct in their predictions that the day was likely to come and go without any major disruptions, even though the worm has infected anywhere from 3 million to 12 million PCs running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system.
Computer infections now are all about making money by stealing people's personal information. And Conficker's authors stand to make more money from renting out parts of their huge "botnet" to spammers or identity thieves than by destroying parts of the Internet.
"These guys have been pretty smart until now -- the worm is unfortunately very well done," said Patrik Runald, chief security advisor for F-Secure Corp. "So far they haven't been stupid. So why should they start on April 1?