The lingering effects of an online advertising scam are affecting hundreds of thousands of Internet users -- and the FBI‚Äôs final fix for the problem may leave them without Internet access.
The problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. The FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers, but that system will shut down July 9. At that point, infected users won‚Äôt be able to connect to the Internet.
The FBI touts the DNS Changer Working Group‚Äôs website, which can discern whether you‚Äôre infected and explain how to fix the problem. But there are other ways....
This is a real virus, but you have a vanishing small chance of being infected. I believe this AP story is part of a media scare campaign to convince the general public that the Internet is scary. Over the past five months or so, I have seen a dramatic increase in articles of this nature, particularly ones quoting former government officials who now work for consulting companies in the military-industrial complex. They are spreading a lot of scare stories about China, the Internet, viruses, and so on. The more I dig into these stories, the more I see they have no substance at all. Reporters who spread them are often not network security experts and aren't qualified to evaluate what's being said.
By the way, the FBI is running alternate DNS servers because many government computers are infected. The $87k pricetag to keep these servers running is much cheaper than cleaning up the infected government machines. I imagine these alternate DSN servers will keep running until the machines are naturally replaced at the end of their service lifecycle.