March 8 could be trouble for as many as 5 million U.S. Internet users because of a computer virus called “DNSChanger Malware.” This virus may be lying dormant on millions of computers in the United States. Although this type of malware began in 2007, the Federal Bureau of Investigations recently uncovered a network of fake DNS servers — basically a lot of computers connected together — that would receive the website requests from infected computers around the world and redirect them to the websites the criminal DNS servers wanted to send them to. This could also include being directed to websites with inappropriate content.
In addition to infected computers, your router’s DNS settings may have also been breached. If you know how to access your DNS settings on your computer or router, there are several ranges of DNS numbers that may indicate your system or router is infected.
Because of the size of this operation and the power of its effects, there’s a chance we may not fully know the outcome of the things that may happen. I encourage you to back up all the data you care about. Put it on disks, flash drives or even portable drives. Remember to keep your backup separate from your entire computer system. Backing up to an extra drive inside your box still leaves your data vulnerable in other areas, such as powerful electrical surges (like those we experienced throughout Tooele County last month), or a home fire or theft. Giving your backup mobility is crucial.
Leaving your computer off for a couple of days probably won’t provide any blockage to the effects of the malware. If your system is infected, once you turn your computer on, it will either connect or not connect to the Internet. In most cases, it will be that black and white, but our government recommends that you have your computer checked out because there could be other malware resident on your computer as well, and in some cases, it can turn off access to important updates for your operating system and antivirus software.
Visit Cnet.com and type in “FBI tackles DNS changer” in the search bar. From there you can read important details about this potentially harmful malware. You can also see how to locate your DNS numbers and compare them with the list of suspect numbers.
If your DNS numbers fall between these ranges of numbers, you should seek to remove any infections that may be on your network.
Scott Lindsay actively promotes learning the computer, regardless of age, to better one’s life and circumstances and has helped thousands of people over the past 10 years to become better computer users. He can be reached at Scott@HelpTooele. com.