More than 277,000 people around the world may be at risk to lose Internet access when the FBI shuts down two temporary Domain Name Systems (DNS) on Monday, CBC News reported.
International hackers took over more than 570,000 computers worldwide with an online advertising scam before the FBI and international law enforcement stepped in late last year as part of a two-year investigation, according to USA Today.
The FBI planned to shut down several malicious servers running that controlled computers infected with a DNSChanger virus but ran into a snag: If the FBI shut the servers down right away, thousands of people would lose their Internet.
A DNS server is essentially the tool that turns an Internet Protocol (IP) address into a word-form of a website that’s easier to remember. For example, if you typed in IP address 18.104.22.168 into your Web browser it would take you to Facebook or if you used IP address 22.214.171.124 you would end up at the Daily Dot. Without a DNS server intact it would be impossible to connect to any website on the Internet.
The FBI brought in two clean Internet servers from a private company so that people’s Internet service wouldn’t be immediately dropped, but the contract ends on Monday, which will shut the system down at 12:01am ET.
“An extension has been requested,” the FBI’s National Press Office spokesperson Jenny Shearer told CBC News.
Since November 2011, the number of computers dropped significantly. However, many still don’t even know if their computer has been infected with the DNSChanger virus, although some signs may include slower Web surfing and disabled antivirus software.
The DNS Changer Working Group has provided a free service created solely to find out whether your computer has been affected. Unlike some malicious software, this does not require downloading any external software and only involves clicking on the link pertaining to your country. It also provides a solution if you have been infected.
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