Sonora, CA — Mother Lode Internet says it is prepared to help customers if they go off line Monday. The FBI has issued a number of alerts, but still estimate that tens of thousands of Americans may lose their Internet service due to malware that could have taken over their machines more than a year ago.
According to Mother Lode Internet Systems Administrator, Dave MacKinnon, “It is possible there may be some isolated cases but we don’t expect to see a large impact on our customer base.”
In November 2011 the FBI and authorities in Estonia arrested six for infecting approximately 4 million computers around the world with DNSChanger malware. The group reportedly made at least $14 million by redirecting infected computers to sites with ads and collecting revenue from showing those ads. The servers were kept on to give people and companies time to rid their computer systems of the DNSChanger malware. Those servers will be turned off Monday, meaning anyone still infected will not have access to the Internet until they remove the malware.
Reported numbers of infected computers vary from nearly 500,000 computers worldwide to between 70,000, and 40,000 in the United States. Those are large numbers, but it’s a very small subset of the 1.6 billion PCs worldwide, of which an estimated 339 million are in the United States.
Infected computers belonged to individuals, businesses, and government agencies such as NASA, and include Mac users. In some cases, the malware had the additional effect of preventing users’ anti-virus software and operating systems from updating, thereby exposing infected machines to even more malicious software.
According to MacKinnon, the incident is well known and is less harmful than many others also known to be out there. He noted, that unlike older viruses that take over and prevent computers from working, more recent viruses and malware run invisibly. The programs will report information entered into websites, like banking websites, to databases that store and later use or sell the banking and other identity information, all without making a computer seem to run any differently.
Installing anti virus and malware programs is a necessity for anyone using the Internet. According to MacKinnon if you have installed those programs in the past year you should not have a problem at all. To check if your computer is infected with this particular malware go to http://www.dns-ok.us. If your system is infected you’ll see a red image with the words “DNS Resolution = RED.” Alternatively, a green image with “DNS Resolution = GREEN” means that your computer is looking up IP addresses correctly.
For more information visit the FBI’s website. https://forms.fbi.gov/check-to-see-if-your-computer-is-using-rogue-DNS