There has been a countdown of sorts by the federal government for quite a while now. On Monday that countdown will conclude, as the FBI pulls the plug on a set of servers they set up to try and defeat the creators of a special kind of Malware.
This particular Malware, known as the DNSChanger, could still infect as many as 300,000 computers across the globe, and when the FBI does pull the plug those people might be booted off the Internet.
The FBI originally began this particular maneuver during a battle with a group of Estonian cyber thieves. These criminals had managed to trick Internet users into having their computers ISP reroute to their servers.
When the feds eventually caught up to the thieves, they found that simply shutting down the servers would have booted even more than are currently at risk. Because of this, the bureau set up their own replacement servers that have been operating for the last several months.
The government is about to pull those servers offline.
Of course if you are knocked offline, it means you’ve ignored several warnings from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and the federal government. Should someone be affected by this particular virus, they’ll need to contact their ISP in order to change the way their computer connects to the Internet.
Changing these settings is not particularly easy and will take some time.
When the FBI did intervene with the cyberthieves, they found that more than four million people across the world had been affected. The group’s DNS servers actually replaced the way their victims’ computers connected to the Internet, because as the address the computers usually leaned on for their domain name system is no longer active, the computers will not be able to connect to any site.
The FBI and Internet companies have been spending the last few years warning people of the virus, and the government believes there are no more than 46,000 users in the United States still infected. The plan was originally to shut down the servers in March, but they delayed the move in order to give people more time to respond to warnings.