Dumb it down
Is the internet really going to shut down on Monday?
There's been a lot of talk about an impending 'internet doomsday', which is reportedly happening this coming Monday, but is the web really going to be shut down?
So is it true that the internet is really going to be shut down this Monday?
Well no, not exactly. The internet isn’t going to just stop, leaving you and me with absolutely nothing to do, see, like or comment on. Having said that, internet access may be disrupted on over 270,000 computers and Macs worldwide all because of a nasty virus.
So what’s the virus?
The virus that's affecting around 277,000 computers worldwide is a DNSChanger malware virus. Basically, the malware hijacked millions of computers across the globe last year when the hackers, from Estonia, duped people into clicking on an online advertising scam that then took over the user's computer. Thankfully, some users copped onto the attack and cleaned up their computers accordingly.
DNSChanger? What’s that?
Well, according to the FBI (and we’re not going to dispute them) DNS – Domain Name System – is an internet service that converts domain names, like Joe.ie, into a series of numerical addresses (such as 123.456.789 etc.) that allow computers and servers to talk to each other. So when a user typed in a certain domain name, the virus would change the numerical code into a different code that would bring the user to a fraudulent site. From here, the user's computer would be further infected.
Oh right. So what was done about it?
Well, when the FBI caught the crooks back in November of last year they realised that if they shut down the malicious servers that were controlling the DNSChanger virus, then anyone who was infected would have lost internet access then and there. That’s how big of an operation the crooks had set up.
To prevent this from happening, the FBI set up a ‘safety net’ that that saw a private company installing two temporary servers that took over from the infected ones. This meant that although some people had infected computers they could still use the internet without any crooks getting to their personal information.
So why is the internet going to shut down for some people this Monday?
Well the FBI set up this safety net under their own accord and it’s obviously costing them money that could be put to better use – there’s still a ‘Most Wanted List’, you know. The servers were actually supposed to be shut down in February of this year, however, the FBI felt that not enough people were aware that their computer was still infected, so like a nice bunch of lads, they extended the temporary service until July 9, this coming Monday.
So how do I know my computer is safe?
Well all you have to do is head over www.dns-ok.us where your computer’s DNS will be checked without having to download anything or pay any money – it’s completely free. If you don’t check and your computer actually is infected then come 4am on Monday you won’t be able to check Twitter, Facebook, Reddit or our own fine site, of course.
What do I do if I am infected… with a computer virus that is?
Well you can head over to www.dcwg.org where there are easy steps to follow for clearing out your computer. If you have any other viruses we’d recommend seeing a doctor…