By Kim Tong-hyung
Computer users here held their collective breathes throughout Wednesday due to dire predictions of a mysterious virus to hit and wreck havoc on their machines come April 1.
However, after an uneventful April Fool's Day, computer users and security experts were left wondering whether the stories about the time-bomb was actually the biggest joke of the day.
As of Wednesday afternoon, there wasn't a single case of the so-called April Fool's virus reported to local security software makers Ahn Lab, Estsoft and other companies.
The concerns over the virus have been real, with the Korea Information Security Agency (KISA) even producing a news release last month to alert computer users to be prepared.
The virus, which is said to be a variant of the Conficker.co virus that made global headlines in January, could activate a so-called ``botnet'' program in an infected computer that could be used to erase files and steal private information like passwords or bank account information.
However, some security experts had been suggesting that the whole scenario could be unfounded and a geek's version of an April Fool's prank.
Although KISA officials stress that its too early for people to lower their guard, because computer users usually do not know whether Conficker.co has infected their machines until the malicious programs start to flex their muscles. And considering that authorities have been blocking access to about 500 Web sites worldwide that provide downloads for the malicious programs, the computer world was clearly well-prepared for the possible outbreak.
But KISA won't be complaining if the April Fool's virus is confirmed as a hoax.
``It's really hard to tell whether the April Fool's virus has actually been activated,'' said a KISA official.