FBI: ‘Internet Doomsday’ Virus Could Black Out Thousands

Thousands of computer users may lose Internet access on Monday, when the deadline for a temporary fix to a malicious software scam shut down by the FBI last year expires.

Millions of computers were infected with the so-called “Internet Doomsday” virus used in the hacking scam, which redirected Internet searches through DNS servers used by the scammers. (Who, in turn, allegedly netted $14 million in bogus advertising revenue.) After U.S. and Estonian authorities busted the malware ring last November, a federal judge ordered that the FBI use temporary servers while the malware victims’ PCs were repaired. The temporary servers will shut down at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Monday, meaning anyone using a computer still infected with the virus will likely lose Internet access.


“Connectivity will be lost to the Internet PERIOD,” Symantec, the online security firm, said in a blog post. “If your computer is still using DNS entries that are pointing to the FBI servers on July 9, you will lose TOTAL access to the Internet. No connecting to the office from home, no updating Facebook, nothing until the DNS settings are fixed.”

It’s unclear how widespread the “blackout” will be. According to a working group set up by security experts, more than 300,000 computers remained infected as of June 11, including 69,000 in the United States. Last week, 245,000 computers were said to be still infected with the so-called Alureon virus, according online security firm Deteque, including 45,355 U.S. machines.

According to Reuters, U.S. Internet providers including AT&T and Time Warner Cable “have made temporary arrangements so that their customers will be able to access the Internet using the address of the rogue DNS servers.” And the problem, security experts say, is relatively easy to fix.

Have you been affected with the Internet Blackout? What tools did you use to diagnose your PC of the “Internet Doomsday” virus?

Source: Yahoo News

Image: 5 News Online

Hundreds Of Thousands May Be ‘Internet-less’ in July

For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer.

Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. The FBI is encouraging users to visit a run by its security partner, http://www.dcwg.org , that will inform them whether they’re infected and explain how to fix the problem. After July 9, infected users won’t be able to connect to the Internet.

Hackers infected a network of probably 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 name system.


The hackers earned profits from advertisements that appeared on websites that victims were tricked into visiting. The scam netted the hackers at least $14 million, according to the FBI. It also made thousands of computers reliant on the rogue servers for their Internet browsing.

The number of victims is hard to pinpoint, but the FBI believes that on the day of the arrests, at least 568,000 unique Internet addresses were using the rogue servers. Five months later, FBI estimates that the number is down to at least 360,000. The U.S. has the most, about 85,000, federal authorities said. Other countries with more than 20,000 each include Italy, India, England and Germany. Smaller numbers are online in Spain, France, Canada, China and Mexico.

What do you think should computer users do to avoid being victimized by opportunistic hackers? Send us your suggestions!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: PCtionary