The Internet will be shut down on Monday, July 9th 2012. Tens of thousands of personal computer users across the US – among more than a quarter-million worldwide – would be in for a surprise when their web browser shows only a blank screen, cut off from the Internet by FBI on Monday.
A new Trojan called DNS Changer Malware is possibly going to cause a worldwide "Internet Blackout" starting July 9, 2012, according to the Federal Bureau Of Investigation (FBI).
Over the past five years, a group of six Estonian and a Russian cybercriminals infected about 4 million computers worldwide with the Malware called DNSChanger. The malware redirected infected users' Web searches to spoofed sites with malicious advertisements.
In November of 2011, the FBI arrested these Estonian residents.
The said hackers managed to take advantage of Microsoft Windows' antivirus system vulnerabilities by modifying the DNS servers of several networks and managed to earn illegal money in the tune of around $14 million due to fake and unsecured Web advertisements, according to the FBI.
To support those affected by malicious software and to save people from suddenly losing their Internet, the FBI set up temporary Internet servers as a safety net then. But on Monday, July 9th 2012, the FBI will shut down Internet servers that it temporarily set up eight months back to follow the federal judge's court order.
But turning off those servers will knock out the Internet for those still infected and giving opportunities for this DNS Changer Malware to spread like wildfires again.
Says the FBI:
To assist victims affected by the DNSChanger malicious software, the FBI obtained a court order authorizing the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) to deploy and maintain temporary clean DNS servers. This solution is temporary, providing additional time for victims to clean affected computers and restore their normal DNS settings. The clean DNS servers will be turned off on July 9, 2012, and computers still impacted by DNSChanger may lose Internet connectivity at that time.
Estimates suggest that around 270,000 to 500,000 machines worldwide are still affected as of late last month. These include computers of 12 percent of all Fortune 500 companies and 4 percent of “major” US federal agencies according to Internet Identity, a cybersecurity firm in Tacoma, Wash.
"Unfortunately, most of those that still have infected machines are going to find out the hard way on Monday – they'll be cut off – and have to take their machines to a local computer store to get it cleaned up," says Rod Rasmussen, president of Identity Internet. "The biggest danger for most people isn't going to be the DNS Changer itself, but all the other things that got installed."
Computer users worldwide still have time to prevent and correct the problem.
How to Confirm your PC is secure and not affected with DNSChanger
To check the status of your computer, please visit any of the following sites http://www.siteadvisor.co/dns_checker.html?cid=109273, https://forms.fbi.gov/check-to-see-if-your-computer-is-using-rogue-DNS or http://www.dcwg.org/. The first and last ones have more easier process since they can automatically track your IP address and tell you whether your computer is under attack or not. The FBI site, remember FBI is an agency that has been working for a long time to fight the virus, has a bit complicated process. You will have to type your IP address manually to find the result there. However, the result from FBI is more genuine than the ones from DNS-OK or MacAfee.
it is a matter of concern for all Windows PC users in the world now.
What is DNSChanger?
The name DNSChanger is a virus that automatically changes the DNSes of the websites you search on your PC to their sites. According to ABC News, “if your computer was infected and you clicked a link to go to Netflix, you would wind up at BudgetMatch.” The practice is simply called ‘click hijacking.’ The domains of sites you search are changed according to the wish of the hackers, who can make some money out of it.
Victims don’t even know their computers are infected; the malicious software probably has slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems.
Many computer users don't understand the complex machines they use every day to send email, shop, and cruise for information. The cyberworld of viruses, malware, bank fraud and Internet scams is often confusing, and warning messages are ignored or may go unseen.
Also, some people simply don't trust the government, and believe that federal authorities are only trying to spy on them or take over the Internet.Considering there are millions of Internet users across the country, several thousand isn't a big deal, unless you're one of them.
“Computer uses have a responsibility to practice good sense and make sure their computers are not infected or being hijacked by criminals,” said Rep. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., and co-founder of Congress' cybersecurity caucus, said
"These types of issues are only going to increase as our society relies more and more on the Internet, so it is a reminder that everyone can do their part," he added.