Infected DNS server causes internet problem
Infected DNS server causes internet problem

Infected DNS server causes internet problem

Infected DNS server causes internet problem

The race is on to help the owners of the infected PC's to fix the problem before the July 9th deadline

Infected DNS server causes internet problem

In an internet scam that netted them upwards of $12 million dollars, Estonian scam artists left more than half a million PC's infected when they were tracked down and arrested by the FBI.
So, with the criminals caught and in jail, what's the problem ?
The problem is, the FBI couldn't just turn off the criminals' computers because if they did, everyone with an infected PC would lose their internet connection and this could cause a massive problem for the internet.
Using a Windows' vulnerability, the criminals had been able to compromise the PC's operating systems and amongst other things, had switched off their anti-virus protection and reconfigured them to use the criminals DNS servers.
A DNS server is a computer that takes the domain names that we all know and use to visit websites (eg: www.google.com and www.micrsoft.com) and translates it into IP addresses that the internet uses to direct us to those websites.
Everyone's internet service providers use a DNS server or, several DNS servers to direct their users' internet traffic to the websites that they want to visit. They do this by 'pushing' DNS server settings to their users' PC's. These settings can be manually reconfigured by the individual users or, by someone else, in this case, the criminals.
The criminals reconfigured the infected PC's with instructions overriding those of the internet service provider which meant that, when the owners of the infected PC's elected to visit a website using their internet browser, they were directed to those websites by the criminals' DNS server.
The criminals' DNS server was configured to send the users to websites that the criminals had set up - websites that they had designed to net massive profits from advertising revenue !
So now, hopefully, our readers should be able to understand why the FBI couldn't just shut down the criminals' bogus DNS server leaving more than half a million people without access to the internet - what could they do ?
They replaced the criminals' bogus DNS server with a genuine one which was correctly configured to properly serve the enquiries from the infected PC's - problem solved or, so our readers may think.
The FBI couldn't keep this DNS server running forever. The original plan was to run it until March this year when they hoped that they would be able to switch it off. They couldn't however, because on the date that the DNS server was due to be disconnected from the internet, it was still receiving queries from hundreds of thousands of infected machines so, the FBI were still facing the original problem that they faced when they discovered the scam - what did they do ? They kept it running and will do so until July, when a Court has ordered that it must be switched off.
Now the race is on to help the owners of the infected PC's to discover and fix the problem before the July 9th deadline so, if you feel that your computer is one of those that may be infected or, that, just for your own peace of mind, you would like to check that your PC isn't one of those that is infected, you can visit a website that has been set up by a security partner of the FBI at www.dcwg.org
You can run a quick test which will tell you whether your machine is OK and if it isn't, you can get instructions on how to fix the problem.
Unfortunately, if your PC is infected and you do nothing, on July 10th you will not only lose your internet connection, if you telephone your internet service provider to complain about it, you are likely to feel a little foolish into the bargain.
This week's Tic Top Tip is that it is best to check your PC whilst you are able to do so and have the opportunity !
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