Hundreds of thousands of internet users worldwide may lose their service on Monday, thanks to a nasty and malicious internet malware virus. They're calling the date "Malware Monday", and you could completely lose your web access Monday if your computer is still exposed. The malware virus is called DNSChanger, and it could make your life an internet-less hell this Monday, July 9.
If it seems a little but unusual for a group of criminal hackers to announce exactly when and where their virus will hit so as to give you advance preparation time, it is. The cybercriminals have already been foiled and put in jail. The FBI performed a temporary, band-aid kind of solution last year, seizing the cyberciminals' servers and then redirecting their hijacked traffic to the FBI's own, clean servers.
Those clean FBI servers are being shut down Monday, leaving still-infected computers without internet access. The FBI estimates that as many as 69,000 U.S. computers are still infected, with more than a quarter million computers still affected worldwide. The FBI assesses that Italy is the second most affected nation (26,000 infected systems), and India is the third most affected nation (21,000 infected systems).
The test to check whether your computer is infected is incredibly simple to perform. The DNS Changer Working Group, a non-profit dedicated to fighting this particular cyberattack, has set up a very easy online check tool. Just click on this DNS Changer Check-Up Tool. If the large graphic you see onscreen is green, then your computer is safe. If the large graphic you see onscreen is red, your computer is still infected with the malware. And you will really want to deal with that before Monday.
How do you deal with that? The DNS Changer Working Group has set up a list of free and trustworthy anti-malware tools dedicated to fighting viruses like this. You just click on one of the links and download the tool. There are also several links to sets of instructions for how to operate these free tools.
If you consider yourself a little technologically challenged, the whole cleansing process can be performed on your computer automatically. The computer security company McAfee has set up a free DNS checker tool that will fix your internet settings automatically, performing all the complicated steps for you.
Google and Facebook will both have automatic notifiers set up. If your computer is infected, you will be seeing the message "Your computer appears to be infected" when you run a search on either Facebook or Google.
If you think that the only people affected are flakes and slackers, think again. The watchdog group Internet Identity estimates that 12% of the Fortune 500 still has infected computers, and 4% of U.S. government agencies still have infected computers.