Reports from the FBI say that over a quarter of a million users could lose internet access on Monday. The FBI are taking down a ‘safety net’ which is protecting these people from a malicious piece of code infecting their systems.
The FBI say that 64,000 Windows machines are infected in America, and 270,000 worldwide. Malware spread to 570,000 machines more than a year ago.
Last year FBI agents found computer servers which cyber criminals were using to control PC’s infected with the software. They took these computers offline at the time, but activated replacement servers as a safety net so the victims wouldn’t lose their internet access immediately. The FBI are shutting down this ‘back up’ system on Monday at 12.01 ET.
The malware is a sophisticated piece of code that redirects data moving between the infected computer and online servers. This is how the cyber criminals take control of the system. The FBI could have simply taken down the control servers at the time however people would have lost connectivity immediately, unable to use the internet.
The infected machines were redirected to web pages holding online ads which they had control over. The ‘click scheme’ has been known to have generated $14 million or more according to the FBI agents.
If you are concerned that your machine may be infected then head to the FBI approved website http://www.dcwg.org. The FBI have links and services so the end user is able to run a check on their PC. There are also instructions on how to run a deeper scan of the system.
Google and Facebook have created special warnings for this particular problem and some internet service providers will have help support lines in place to deal with people who lose their internet connection.
Kitguru says: It is best taking some action now if you are unsure that your system is clean before the FBI take down the host servers on Monday.