The “DNS” or Domain Name System is vital to computer communication over networks, such as the Internet. It is the system that converts an easily remembered URL (www.atnetplus.com), to a numerical addressing system that is Internet routable (220.127.116.11). Think of it as similar to the contact list in your cell phone. You select the contact name and the phone connects you to the number associated with it so that you can converse with that person.
Last year four Estonian nationals set up an elaborate network of servers that displayed webpages that mimicked legitimate websites. In actuality, the false pages took you to the Estonian servers, which allowed them to reap advertising profits of about $14 million. In addition, users were exposed to viruses and identity theft. After the FBI shut down the hacking scheme, they were forced to leave the Estonian servers up and running for the victims. Otherwise, at that time, the nearly 4 million computers that were infected would have been unable to connect to the Internet.
That was back in October, and the cost of the operation has grown too much for Congress to allow it to continue. The FBI has been working tirelessly to reach out to those with infected computers and the latest estimate is that only about 100,000 computers are still being routed through the servers taken over by the FBI. Regardless, on July 9th, the FBI is going to pull the plug. If your computer is one of those still infected you only have a few days until you will no longer be able to access the World Wide Web… no more E-mail, no more Facebook.
Statistically, you have very little chance of being infected, but it never hurts to check. You can find out if your computer has the “DNSchanger” malware by visiting the diagnostic website that the FBI setup at http://www.dns-ok.us/. This tool looks at your DNS and tells you whether you were infected or not. A green background means you are okay, but a red background means you need to contact your IT support to fix the problem before the July 9 deadline.