Are You Safe from Internet Doomsday?

Deadline looms for tens of thousands of U.S. computers to remove malware or lose Internet access.

by / July 5, 2012
A green background indicates your computer has not been affected by DNSChanger. Image courtesy of the FBI.

When logging onto the Internet on Monday, July 9, many people may get a rude awakening. Some of the Internet’s most highly trafficked websites are joining forces to get the word out about a simple fix to ensure continued connectivity for their site visitors.

Last November, the FBI announced arrests of several Estonian nationals for distribution of an Internet-altering virus called “DNSChanger” that redirects unsuspecting victims to fraudulent and malicious websites. According to MSNBC, perpetrators successfully infected approximately 4 million computers in 100 countries across the globe.

Law enforcement investigators determined the malware’s source was two servers in Estonia. If they took the two servers down, however, all users affected would have lost Internet connectivity immediately. Instead, two clean servers were set up as a temporary fix, intercepting traffic the bug would have sent to the other servers. Court orders allowing this interim solution are set to expire this coming Monday.

Facebook and Google have joined the outreach effort to help their users keep uninterrupted Internet access. Some Internet service providers have notified their customers who are potentially impacted, while others are instructing support staff on how to help a possible deluge of offline customers, come Monday.

Is Your Computer Affected?

News sources report that despite alert efforts to date, as many as 64,000 U.S. computers may still carry the bug, including as many as 50 Fortune 500 companies. Users, however, may not know it. Subtle signs include slightly slower Internet speeds and disabled anti-virus software. Failing to remove the malware from your machine could leave you vulnerable to additional threats.

A quick visit to a website set up by the FBI will tell you if DNSChanger is present on your machine, and how to remove it. The site assures visitors that finding out doesn’t require installing software, scans or changes to your computer.