Thousands could lose internet access when FBI cuts off temporary servers
The FBI is snipping a cyber safety net on Monday that kept thousands of computer users online after their internet connections were hijacked by a piece of malware called DNSChanger, meaning those users could be disconnected from the web if they still haven’t removed the virus by July 9.
The good news is if you’re among the 7,000 Canadian PC or Mac users — or the tens of thousands more worldwide —still believed to have machines infected with the nasty DNSChanger virus, you can spare yourself the misery of being cut off from email, Twitter, Facebook and other online distractions by performing a simple test.
Google, Facebook and the FBI have all issued repeated alerts over the past year about the estimated 650,000 computers worldwide that fell victim to the DNSChanger trojan, but they and media outlets made one last public appeal this week warning of the looming July 9 deadline.
That’s when the FBI will shut down the temporary DNS servers it set up to keep the virus-infected computers connected to the internet after it broke up a criminal operation that had rerouted the machines through a system of false DNS servers, manipulating users’ web searches in order to direct them to fraudulent websites.
The websites promoted fake products and allowed the cybercriminals to earn money off the sale of these products and advertising.
The temporary servers, operated by the non-profit Internet Systems Consortium, were meant to keep people connected to the web until the virus was removed and the connection through their usual internet service provider was resumed.
How to check for virus
Double-checking for the malware only takes a minute. Here’s how to do it:
The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has done much of the legwork for you by setting up an online screening system for your computer.
Visit the website www.dns-ok.ca/ and click on a link agreeing to run your computer through the DNSChanger malware checker. The page should refresh and show you either a green or red banner, with a message stating whether DNSChanger has been detected.
If it’s green, you’re in the clear. If the banner is red and a message confirms the virus has been detected, you can go to one of several websites set up to help inform the public about the virus and the related FBI operation for further instructions on how to remove it:
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