FBI says hundreds of thousands may lose Internet in July
The FBI was investigating a major hacking scam that changed DNS servers of unsuspecting users. The Hackers infected a network of what is believed to be more than 570,000 computers worldwide. They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install malicious software on the victim computers. This turned off antivirus updates and changed the way the computers reconcile website addresses behind the scenes on the Internet’s domain name system.
This case had one HUGE technical problem. If the criminals’ computers were seized and turned off, all of the four million computers that were relying on those computer to “find things” on the Internet by resolving domain names to numeric IP addresses for them would fail. They wouldn’t just “default back” to some pre-infection DNS setting, they would just stop being able to use the Internet at all until someone with some tech-savvy fixed the DNS settings on those computers.
The FBI put in place an advanced system to avoid any appearance of government intrusion into the Internet or private computers. The criminals’ DNS Servers were replaced with Internet Systems Consorium (ISC) DNS Servers that would give the right answer to any DNS queries they received. It was supposed to be a temporary measure, just until the Department of Justice managed to get everyone’s DNS settings set back the way they were supposed to be. Last November, there was a court order that dictated that March 9th would be the day to turn off the ISC DNS servers
It is believed that the vast majority of the 4 million compromised computers have not been fixed. On March 8th the court agreed to give them an extension until July 9th.
All computer users with internet access are urged to visit the website DCWG which is the security company that the FBI partnered with. DCWG provides an online detection tool that will let you know if your computers is infected and will walk you though the steps to resolve.
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