July 9, 2012 Could Be Doomsday For Many Internet Users
By Mysterious Q
It's entirely possible that your computer may be infected with a specialized virus and mal-ware that will make it impossible for you to connect to the Internet after July 9, 2012, regardless of which ISP you are using. The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently announced that it had busted up a ring of super-hackers that used the virus and mal-ware to infect what may turn out to be hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide. Their purpose was to make your machine's browser visit a web site with their ads, but the side effect could be the complete loss of your computer's ability to connect to the Internet.
Acting quickly, the feds managed to create a temporary safety net to keep those infected with the virus and mal-ware online until they could detect the problem and fix it. However, the clock is ticking. The FBI says they cannot keep paying to keep this fix up and running indefinitely and that users who suspect their machine may be infected will need to visit a web site run by their security partners at www.dcwg.org to detect and fix the problem. Symptoms of the virus are slow browsing and the constant disabling of anti-virus and anti-mal-ware programs.
The FBI discovered the side effects of the sinister virus and mal-ware in November of 2011 while agents were investigating a ring of hackers known to be running an ad-scam that used infected computers to re-direct browsers to their bogus offers and ads. FBI supervisory special agent Tom Grasso gave this statement to the news media:
"We started to realize that we might have a little bit of a problem on our hands because if we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure and threw everybody in jail, the victims of this were going to be without Internet service... The average user would open up Internet Explorer and get `page not found' and think the Internet is broken."
Just after the hackers were arrested, the FBI enlisted the help of Paul Vixie from Internet Systems Consortium, a company contracted with the feds to help with problems like these. ISC installed two Internet servers to take the place of the huge numbers of bogus servers that infected computers were using. The FBI planned to keep their servers online until March of 2012 to give those with infected machines time to clean their computers, but not enough people have been responding to the threat. A federal judge has extended the deadline until July of 2012.
The feds estimate that well over five hundred thousand computers may have been infected worldwide. The super-hackers designed a delivery system for the virus that took advantage of what the feds have described as 'vulnerabilities' in the Windows operating system. The flaw allowed the criminals to install mal-ware, disable anti-virus updates and alter the way that the infected computers handle web site addresses on the Internet's domain name system.
To make a long story short, the virus and mal-ware redirected browsers to ad sites set up by the criminals using a sophisticated method of altering the numerical addresses that legitimate DNS servers sent them to by connecting machines to the bogus servers run by the hackers. The FBI says that the scam netted hackers from Estonia over fourteen million dollars which was earned when the infected computers were made to visit web sites with their ads.
Be sure to visit www.dcwg.org soon to check if your computer is infected and to get the fix. Due to heavy traffic, the site may be down when you go there. Save it to your favorites and re-visit until you check your computer for the virus and mal-ware. Remember, the FBI is only keeping the online solution up until July 9. 2012.
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