For about eight months, the FBI had kept temporary servers operating so that users whose computers were infected with a DNSChanger computer virus would not lose internet access. On July 9, the FBI shut off the servers, and some customers were left wondering why they could no longer access the internet or USENET.
But the big day has come and gone with ISPs reporting relatively smooth sailing. They received advanced warning of the shut off of the FBI servers, and some reports indicate that some ISPs may have created their own temporary servers so that their customers infected with the DNSChanger virus would continue to access the internet.
The virus altered the domain name system, or DNS, of the infected machines. Users were redirected to certain websites as part of an illegal money-making scam. The perpetrators, who had milked $14 million from the scam, have been arrested, and the FBI installed the temporary servers to avoid a shock to infected users.
Since the crime ring was taken down, many have worked to notify infected users and urge all users to check their machine for the virus. Reports indicate that the number of infections declined by 34% in the three weeks leading up to the July 9 deadline, but some did not heed the warning or remained oblivious to its presence.
Still, July 9 came and went with ISPs reporting that only a small number of their customers were affected and that their support teams were prepared to deal with customer complaints of no service. ISPs that have created their own temporary servers for infected customers will continue to reach out to those they suspect of being infected. Some servers may direct infected customers to a page that instructs them of how to fix the problem.
Internet security is often a hot topic on Usenet’s computer and technology newsgroups, with professionals from all over the globe participating in the discussion. The DNSChanger story has received worldwide attention, and has been a topic of discussion in the newsgroups for some time, especially in the weeks leading up to the FBI’s shutdown of the temporary servers.