By Anu Passary | Jul 09, 2012 10:29 PM EDT
The FBI pulled the plug on its clean DNS servers on July 9, Monday, leaving tens of thousands of Internet users worldwide at the mercy of the DNSChanger malware, which redirects users to phony servers. However, thanks to www.dns-ok.us check site, many were lucky enough to see their computers were clean.
Ever since the FBI announced that it would be removing the 'safety net' from the Web on July 9, thousands of global users had been dreading the looming doomsday. However, the imminent threat of Monday malware blues and Internet Armageddon fizzled out for some users when the FBI's DNS servers went down on Monday. Why? Thanks to an FBI-approved site called www.dns-ok.us.
For those who are unfamiliar with the DNSChanger story, in November 2011, the FBI had made public the details of the said DNSChanger virus post the arrest of the malware authors. The DNSChanger malware handicaps the ability of a computer to access Internet sites, redirecting users to spammy servers. In the past, the virus is believed to have affected over 4 million global users. To remedy the issue, the FBI had taken matters into their own hand by bringing in a private company to build two new servers that would act as a safety net and redirect traffic from users infected with the malware. This temporary measure was slated to go offline permanently on July 9.
Estimates suggest that more than 277,000 computers worldwide are infected with the virus, which is a fall from about 360,000 in April this year.
Ahead of the looming deadline, several moves were made to create awareness amongst users. Both Facebook and Google had created own warning messages that showed up if someone using either site appeared to have an infected computer. The Facebook message says, "Your computer or network might be infected," along with a link that users can click for more information. Google users got a similar message, displayed at the top of a Google search results page.
In a bid to create awareness, the FBI had also hired a group to maintain the site http://www.dcwg.org, where a user would get help on how to disinfect their computer and alternately check whether his/her computer was infected. Listed tools and system checks would enable users to be more vigilant and DNSChanger free.
By performing these basic checks on www.dns-ok.us (Green page means you're clean, Red means, well, you're dead) or FBI - Check to See if Your Computer is Using Rogue DNS page and procedures like saving back-up files, many Internet users have averted being offline and cut-off from the World Wide Web. For those who lost the battle against the virus, there is still hope yet. The FBI recommends that you contact your Internet service provider (ISP) to get help on how to get back online. In some cases, users may have to re-install their operating system to get rid of the virus completely and post-reinstallation, run a virus scan.
Users who ran the checks beforehand and were forearmed can breathe a sigh of relief, the Internet doomsday is over. However, users who are still affected by the malware will probably continue to access the Internet from their smartphones or tablets till the issue gets sorted and wish they'd acted on time.
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