The New York Times, Wired Magazine and the FBI, among many entities, are warning Americans to check their computers for DNSChanger malware or wake up tomorrow with no Internet access.
Fortunately, there are Websites aplenty, including one set up by the FBI, where you can find out almost instantly where you stand.
So, without further ado, here is the site where you can check your computer for DNSChanger malware.
A footnote: the FBI deserves credit for being way ahead of a lot of other police agencies when it comes to technology. (And, by the way, the National Security Agency was infected by the DNSChanger malware. Somebody shopping online when they were supposed to be tracking down America’s enemies?)
Starting in 2007, FBI agents spent two years chasing down a group of six Estonians who created an evil, but brilliant, scam:
When users of infected computers clicked on the link for the official website of iTunes, for example, they were instead taken to a website for a business unaffiliated with Apple Inc. that purported to sell Apple software. Not only did the cyber thieves make money from these schemes, they deprived legitimate website operators and advertisers of substantial revenue.
The scheme netted, so to speak, the Estonians millions.
Users of infected machines were unaware their computers had been compromised—or that the malicious software rendered their machines vulnerable to a host of other viruses.
The numbers vary widely about how many computers are still infected with the malware, despite repeated warnings in the news, e-mail messages sent by ISPs and alerts posted by Google and Facebook, according to Wired.
(Mac-based Insider Louisville is clean.)
By 2011, the Malware had been contained. But, when the FBI went in to take down the scammers’ network last year, agents realized if they turned off the servers being used to control the computers, all the victims would lose their Internet service, according to the Times.
So the FBI did what any good hacker would do … they created a work-around.
FBI agents installed two clean Internet servers to take over from the malware servers so infected machines wouldn’t just be cut off, then just left them up indefinitely.
For better or worse, the FBI has decided to take down the servers tonight, which means hundreds of thousands of machines might lose Internet access.
More as this plays out.