Technology

Malware on Monday Affects Thousands of Computer Users

| by Michael Allen

If you've heard the phrase "Malware on Monday," it's not just another urban myth scare like Y2K.

Your Internet may have gone down just after midnight because of malware that took over some computer servers around the world more than a year ago. This could also affect Smartphones that use these servers as well as computers themselves.

The malware is known as 'DNS Changer' and was created by cybercriminals to redirect Internet traffic by hijacking the domain name systems of Web browsers.

Last year hackers ran an online ad scam to take control of more than 570,000 infected computers around the world. When the FBI went in to take down the hackers last year, the FBI realized that if they turned off the malicious servers being used to control the computers, all the victims would lose their Internet service.

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So the FBI brought in a private company to install two clean Internet servers to take over for the malicious servers so that people would not suddenly lose their Internet.

However, the court order the FBI used to keep the temporary servers running expired, and was not renewed.

At 12:01 a.m. this morning, the FBI turned off the Internet servers that were functioning as a temporary safety net to keep infected computers online for the past eight months.

The FBI also arranged for a private company to run a website, dcwg.org, to help computer users see if their computer was infected and find computer security business sites where they could find fixes for the problem.

From the beginning, most victims didn't even know their computers had been infected, although the malicious software probably slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software.