FBI urges check or risk loss of Internet in July
By Elsa Maxey
You may think the Internet is “broken” or not working this summer, if your computer happens to be among the ones redirected by hackers…that is, unless you checked to see if its activity was moved to another server. If it was not, you lucked out. But if yours is among what is reportedly part of the half a million computers affected, there’s a fix. But, you don’t want to run out of time before you test it. By July 9, if you’ve not checked and your computer was infected, your Internet access will be gone.
According to a U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) advisory, a rogue DNS (Domain Name Service) server was activated and many computer users were subjected to an advertising scam launched by hackers at least a year ago. It would send computer users to websites selected by cyber criminals, who were reportedly paid millions for directing traffic to those websites.
Right now, many computer users with the malware program may not realize it because the computer may appear to be operating normally, report FBI officials.
The FBI also reports that last year an investigation led to the cybercriminals’ rogue servers’ seizure. These DNS servers were considered for a shut down. But because anyone infected with the malware would suddenly lose their Internet connection if the rouge servers were to be shut down, they remained in operation. But not for long as there will be a switch out, which is why it is important to follow a few simple steps to keep your computer operating with Internet access, if it was infected.
The FBI encourages computer users to visit a website run by its security partner to check and clean a computer: www.dcwg.org
1) When the page opens, select “Detect.”
2) After another page opens, go to the bottom of the page and select language option (English is listed first).
3) The next page that opens will indicate either DNS Resolution = GREEN, which will state your computer appears to be looking up IP addresses correctly! Do nothing.
4) If your computer is infected with the DNS changer malware, the message will have a red background and instructions for the correction will be provided.
Reports indicate that the FBI controlled DNS servers were to be shutdown on March 8, but due to the large number of computers remaining at risk for losing Internet connectivity, the new deadline of July 9 was set. It is suspected that most of the victims of the DNS server redirection are individual home computer users, rather than corporations, which have IT staffs routinely checking computers.
According to Shawn Henry, executive assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal, Cyber, Response, and Services Branch, in an interview he said that today cyber threats are coming from “three primary actors.” They include organized crime groups primarily threatening the financial services sector; foreign governments interested in pilfering data, including intellectual property and research and development data from major manufacturers, government agencies and defense contractors; and terrorist groups wanting to impact this country the same way they did on 9/11 by flying planes into buildings. “They are seeking to use the network to challenge the United States by looking at critical infrastructure to disrupt or harm the viability of our way of life,” he said.