A dozen years ago there was the widely dreaded Y2K virus that threatened to wreak havoc on computers around the globe. Now there is a malware virus called DNSChanger that will spring into action when users log onto the Internet Monday expecting to access the World Wide Web through their own Internet service provider, or ISP.
"The risk depends on what malware is intended to do," said Arthur Anderson of Rye IT consulting service . Depending on the way it is coded, Anderson explained, malware can disrupt Internet service or even access data stored on your computer. That may include information about your identity, passwords and other information.
The DNSChanger malware threatens lock out tens of thousands of people from Internet access Monday, and it may also search out private information.
According to the FBI, the trojan virus will divert users from legitimate ISP servers to malicious sites that will alter their domain name server—the unique address of your computing device. Without access to the correct DNS, you would not be able to access Web sites, send e-mail, or use any other Internet services.
A Huffington Post report citing FBI data estimates as many as 277,000 computers infected worldwide and about 64,000 in the United States.
What To Do
- The FBI has set up a Web site with instructions and safe links to check your computer for the malware at http://www.dcwg.org.
- The FBI site shuts down just after midnight Monday—at 12:01 a.m. EDT, so don't wait!
- If your cable company is your ISP, check its sites for instructions. Click here for links to the pages Verizon and Cablevision have set up for their customers.
- If the virus hits your computer, you will have to manually reset your local DNS settings then make sure your computer is clean at http://www.dns-ok.us.
Experts predict malware attack on personal computers, portable devices and laptops, even smartphones will increase by the end of the year. Antivirus software developer Trend Micro estimates more than a dozen malicious apps were downloaded over 700,000 times from Google's popular mobile app market before they were removed.