“DNSChanger” Virus Threatens Online Computers Worldwide

The so-called Internet doomsday virus with the potential to black out tens of thousands of computers worldwide appears to pose no major problems. The problem stems from malware known as DNS Changer, which was created by cybercriminals to redirect Internet traffic by hijacking the domain name systems (DNS) of Web browsers.

Internet Service Providers are believed to have beefed up their own ‘safety nets’ to catch users who still have the virus on their PCs. The ring behind the DNS Changer was shut down last year by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Estonian police and other law enforcement agencies, after infecting some four million computers worldwide.

Nearly 300,000 computers appeared to be still infected as of June, according to experts monitoring the problem. Security firms reported no significant outages linked to the DNS Changer virus, as many Internet service providers have either implemented a fix or contacted customers with steps to clean their computers.

A security advisor at the Finland-based F-Secure said: ‘According to the latest IP count, the number of affected users in the UK has dropped to just 13,832, down from 19,589 on June 11.’Clearly, the publicity surrounding the deadline has helped to raise awareness and the message is getting through that users need to clean up their computers.’What we have seen is that some large Internet Service Providers have set up their own substitute DNS servers so their customers can stay online.

Who Is Affected?

Initially, there were more than 4 million infected computers in 100 countries, including 500,000 in the United States, according to the indictment. As of July 4, there were only about 46,000 in the United States, That’s out of nearly 300,000 worldwide. PCs and Apple Macs have been infected. Routers and iPads were hit, too.

As of June, the United States had more infected computers than any other country, according to data from the DNS Changer Working Group, or DCWG, a group working on cleanup resulting from the malware.

How Do I Know if My Computer Is Infected?

You can check to see whether your computer is infected by logging on to www.dns-ok.us. If the page is green, you’re in the clear. If it’s red, your computer is infected. On Thursday the site got 2 million hits, but very few of those computers were infected.

Google and Facebook say they have also set up notifications for infected users. If you type in a search term and see a message that says, “Your computer appears to be infected” at the top of your screen, guess what. Your computer is infected.

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