A couple hundred thousand people may see their internet cut off this summer. To check and see if this will affect you, skip to the last full paragraph of this blog entry and follow the link I will leave there. If you want to know why… read on.
Back in November the FBI teamed up with a few foreign law enforcement agencies for what was called “Operation Ghost Click.” First off, cool name for an operation. That would make a sweet name for a big summer blockbuster movie. Ghost Click nabbed scammers and thieves who had distributed viruses known as “DNS Changers.” This malware forced infected computers to DNS servers which re-directed lookup requests to malicious websites. Basically, this virus makes your computer access a “fake internet” designed to steal your identity and further spread malware to other systems (likely your friends, co-workers, and family.) Before the scammers were shut down over 500,000 Americans had fallen victim to these DNS Changers and the criminals had stolen over 14 Million dollars.
So, good work FBI. Glad to see these criminal jerkwads behind bars. I kind of hope most of them broke laws and are in custody in countries with “less pleasant” jails than we have here in the states. I think this type of criminal really deserves to be chained up in “ye olde dungeon” but I suppose just getting them off the street is the main thing.
But there was still a problem left behind. Almost a million computer systems worldwide still relied on these malicious DNS servers for internet lookups. The virus had changed their browsers (be they IE, Firefox, or Chrome) and would not let users change to a different DNS server. So had the FBI shut down those servers right away; everyone infected with the virus would have lost their ability to connect to the internet. So instead it was decided to remove the malware from the servers and allow them to continue to operate in the same way that legitimate DNS servers do.
Until July 9th, when those servers will be shut down. At that point any infected computer will lose the ability to use the internet until the malware is removed. A large portion of the infected computers have already been fixed. And chances are if you were affected… you already know about it. Most of those unfortunate folks are having to deal with having their identities stolen and are aware of the virus. Most have already or are planning to fix their computers. But it is said that as many as 1 million users worldwide and almost 200,000 here in the states may not be aware they are infected.
Good news though, there is a very easy way to test your computer to see if you are infected. Visit http://www.dcwg.org/ and follow their very easy instructions to A: see if you are infected, B: fix infected systems, and C: help protect systems from contracting DNS changer viruses.
Or, just wait until July 9th. Then see if your internet stops working. If it stops working then you can go to dcwg.org and…
Oh wait. Better get checked out before then.