Thousands of users may lose their internet connection on July 9.
No, this is not SOPA or any other legal mumbo-jumbo. This time it’s hackers.
According to the FBI, international hackers ran an online advertising scam that infected computers around the world. This allowed them to control infected computers around the world. The FBI responded by setting up a safety net a few months ago. They used government computers to prevent internet disruptions to infected users. However, they are shutting that system down.
Users are encouraged by the FBI to visit a website run by its security partner which will inform them if they are infected. The website www.dcwg.com will explain how to fix the problem. If users who are infected do not fix this problem, they will be unable to connect to the internet on July 9.
“We started to realize that we might have a little bit of a problem on our hands because … if we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure and threw everybody in jail, the victims of this were going to be without Internet service,” said Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent. “The average user would open up Internet Explorer and get `page not found’ and think the Internet is broken.”
Federal officials originally planned to keep the servers up only until March. The deadline was extended until July by a federal judge in New York.
According to Grasso, it is now up to the computer users to check their PCs. He said, “the full court press is on to get people to address this problem.”
There are about 570,000 computers infected worldwide. The hackers used the vulnerabilities of the Microsoft Windows operating system to install their malicious software on the unsuspecting computer user. This software shut off antivirus updates and altered the way computers reconcile website addresses in their DNS.
The hackers tricked users into visiting websites with advertisement. They earned at least $14 million from these ads which in turn allowed them to redirect computers to fraudulent websites.
To check if your computer is infected go to www.dcwg.com to perform the check.
You should see the following screen if you are not infected. Good Luck!