Simple, quick test
Maybe you've heard about the Conficker worm, a computer virus that became active on April 1. Millions of computers are said to be infected with it. It is unknown how or when the worm will be used, but it probably won't be used benevolently.
A quick, easy test for the virus has been posted by the Conficker Working Group. Visit the test page and compare your results with the charts at the bottom of the page. This is a reliable test, as long as you aren't viewing the internet through a proxy server (such as a web accelerator provided by a dial-up internet service.)
Or, simply try to visit some of the anti-virus software websites such as Symantec, Trend Micro, or F-Secure. If you can't open the websites, your computer is probably infected with Conficker.
the test page, just to be sure. If you learn that your computer is infected, see the CNET article: "Rid your computer of the Conficker Virus".
This information is a little off topic for Prairie Bluestem, I know, but I don't want any of my readers to be caught unaware. If you're not using anti-virus software currently, a good, free program is available from AVG.
A hat tip to Seth Rosenblatt at the CNET Download Blog.