As many as 300,000 computers may not be able to access the Internet Monday, when the FBI takes down a safety net protecting them from a specific piece of malicious software. The highly unusual back-up system was taken in November, when agents arrested a group from Estonia.
According to discovery.com, the suspects had infected about 4 million computers, roughly 500,000 in the United States, with malware called DNSChanger (also referred to as Alureon) that diverted victims to scam sites.
The FBI released a bulletin with facts and ways to detect the virus. As of Friday, there are about 64,000 computers in the United States that remain infected.
The malware redirects traffic traveling to and from an infected PC, routing it through different computer servers. Suspects were able to steer victims to certain Web pages carrying online ads. Advertisers paid the attackers for each click to a page carrying their ads. This "click-fraud" scam netted at least $14 million, according to the FBI.
You can visit an FBI-approved website: http://www.dcwg.org. There you will find links to services that will run a quick check on your PC, as well as guidelines to manually carry out a deeper malware inspection. Malware can be hard to detect and often slows the time it takes for Web pages to load.
If you lose access to the Internet, contact your Internet service provider for help reconnecting. Most Internet service providers have plans to try to help keep victims online.
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