Updated on Sunday July 8th at 8:20 PM ET
Easy detection and fix
As of Sunday night, about 46,000 computers in the U.S. are infected with malicious software called DNSChanger, according to the Associated Press. The number keeps declining. Last week it was 64,000. If the maleware isn’t removed, they’ll no longer be able to access websites and email as of 12.01 AM Eastern time, Monday Morning, July 9th (scroll down for background information).
The good news is that it’s easy to find out if you’re infected and, if so, there are free tools to fix the problem.
Check if you’re infected (no download required)
It’s all related to an FBI action in 2011 when the agency and its international partners took down a network of rogue Domain Name Servers that were hijacking the Internet connections of infected computers and redirecting them to scam sites. But with those rogue systems offline, infected comptuters were left with no way to find sites (DNS is like the 411 of the Internet — it translates friendly URLS — like larrysworld.com — into the numeric codes that get you where you need to be). Technically, you’ll still on the Internet but without DNS, you have no way to get to domains unless you type in their IP address.
To “solve” that probem, the FBI set up its own servers as a temporary fix but those servers are going offline at 12:01 AM Eastern time on Monday, July 9th which means that infected computers will no longer have DNS service. Fortunately, there are easy ways to detect and fix the problem (scroll up for details).
Unlike most “viruses,” this problem can affect Macs as well as PCs and if the DNS in your home or office router is invalid, it could impact tablets, internet phone systems, game consoles or any other device that uses your network.