The Conficker worm has been spreading across the internet for the past three years, according to Vermont Public Radio. As many as 12 million computers have been infected with the self-updating worm, which means that more people need to have antivirus software updated and installed.
The malware can get inside of computers and operate without the user's permission or knowledge, according to the news source.
"What Conficker does is penetrate the core of the [operating system] of the computer and essentially turn over control of your computer to a remote controller," writer Mark Bowden tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "[That person] could then utilize all of these computers, including yours, that are connected. ... And you have effectively the largest, most powerful computer in the world."
Kim Jacobs Walker, a Yahoo contributer, writes that Bowden's book, "Worm: The First Digital World War," has renewed interest in the virus. She writes that the virus came to be in 2008, has infected 8 million to 12 million computers, and has been speculated to be the largest working botnet to date.