DNSChanger victims could lose internet in July

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Hundreds of thousands of computer users around the world are in danger of losing their internet connection this summer, thanks to a global malware infection.

DNSChanger has infected millions of computers worldwide, altering their settings to hijack machines as part of an advertising scam. At its height, more than half a million computers were actively involved.

The FBI arrested those it believes responsible in November, with the first of the accused, Estonian Anton Ivanov, appearing before US Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman late last week.

"Operating from thousands of miles away, this defendant and his co-conspirators allegedly concocted a diabolical scheme that infected millions of computers and victimized legitimate advertisers and websites alike," says Manhattan US attorney Preet Bharara.

However, because the operation was so large, the FBI elected not to shut down the gang's servers, but instead replace them with two legitimate ones administered by the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC).

Originally, this was to have been for a 120-day period only, but because of the scale of the problem this was doubled. But time's due to run out on July 9, and any machines which are sill infected could lose the internet altogether.

The group in charge of the servers, the DNSChanger Working Group, has set up a website allowing users to check for an infection and, if necessary, remove it.