If you, or someone you know, is reading this on your smartphone because you’re having trouble connecting to the internet with your home computer this morning, it may be because your computer was infected with the DNS Changer, a malware. As of 12:01 this morning, Monday, July 9, any computers still infected with the malware were disconnected from the internet by the FBI.
Your option now is to call your internet provider’s help desk and get their help to get back online. If you were unplugged and had to call for help, let us know what your experience was and we’ll add it to this update.
Last Call: Check Now To See If Your Computer Is Infected With Malware
Whether or not your computer was infected a year ago with DNS Changer, a malware (malicious software), it’s worth taking a minute to check. If it’s not infected, then you’re just fine and if it is infected then you can find an easy fix to rid your computer of the malware. This way you’ll be sure that when you boot up your computer on Monday, July 9, your internet connection will work just the way it always has.
Go to the FBI-sponsored dcwg.org website and follow the links at the top of the home page to detect, fix and protect your computer from the DNS Changer malware.
Remember to do this by midnight, so you won’t find the plug was pulled on your internet connection come Monday morning.
Hundreds of Thousands May Lose Internet Access on July 9, but Fix is Easy
Following is a press release from the CT Better Business Bureau regarding the DNS Changer malware and how to protect yourself from online scams:
Hundreds of thousands of Internet uses may lose their online access on July 9, 2012, and Connecticut Better Business Bureau is urging consumers and businesses to run a quick and easy diagnostic test to see if their computers are infected.
“Everyone should check to see if their computer is infected,” urged Connecticut BBB President, Paulette Scarpetti. “It takes less than a minute to check and, if your equipment is clean, there is nothing more you need to do. If your computer is infected, the DNS Changer Working Group recommends the necessary steps to save your computer. But this must be done by July 9th or you could lose internet access.”
Major Internet Service providers have set up help pages about this issue.
Last November, the FBI took down the servers of international hackers operating out of Estonia. The hackers had already successfully downloaded malware onto millions of computers worldwide and more than half a million computers in the U.S., turning off virus updates and redirecting consumers to fraudulent websites.
If the servers had simply been shut down, the victims’ computers would no longer be able to access the internet. Instead, the FBI set up clean servers to replace the ones that were running the scam, and victims have been redirected to those clean servers ever since, usually without any knowledge they’d been infected in the first place.
Originally the rescue servers were to be active until March, but a court ruling extended the program until July 9th. At that time the clean servers will be turned off and anyone who is still infected with the malware will lose their internet access. The FBI believes there are still about 360,000 infected computers in a dozen countries, including the U.S. and Canada.
Protect yourself from online scams:
- Research before you click. To try and gain your trust, hackers will create convincing-looking messages that entice consumers to click the advertisement. Before clicking on an unknown popup, take the time to research the company on your own.
- Protect your computer. Install updates to your operating system for free by enabling the option on your computer’s security center. Keep all anti-virus software up-to-date and make sure all security patches and updates are installed for programs that access the Internet.
- Protect your personal information. Don’t provide your personal information or credit card information to an unknown company or website. Look for “https” instead of “http” or a padlock icon at the bottom of the screen which will indicate security software is in place.
Founded in 1928, Connecticut BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. BBB helps consumers find and recommend businesses, brands and charities they can trust, offers objective advice and a wide range of education on topics affecting marketplace trust. BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses. Today, 116 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than three million local and national businesses and charities. For more advice on finding companies and businesses, start your search with trust at www.bbb.org.