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‘Internet Doomsday’ Fizzles As Most Users Remove Crippling Virus In Time

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 10, 2012

Huffington Post UK  |  By 

Dns Changer  

It may have been called ‘Internet Doomsday’ – but the decision to switch off a temporary fix to a virus which could have thrown thousands offline appears to have had little impact.

The DNS Changer virus spread almost a year ago, and was written to change a user’s internet settings to make them visit fraudulent websites.

But when the fraud was discovered so many computers were reliant on the hackers’ servers the FBI had to keep them switched on, or thousands would lose Internet access.

Up to four million machines were originally infected in the US, but by Sunday that was thought to be around 300,000.

Italy (26k), Germany (18k) and India (21k) all had thousands of infected machines, and up to 20,000 UK computers were said to be affected.

But after the FBI turned off the fix few problems were reported.

The servers were shut off around midnight on Monday in New York City. Analysts said a public information scheme had reached the businesses and members of the public likely to have been affected.

“The outreach campaign has reached everyone humanly possible,” Barry Greene, part of the DNSChanger Working Group, said to Reuters.

The DNSChanger botnet was installed on hundreds of thousands of machines until the FBI in the US managed to uncover the source of the fraud about 12 months ago.

Seven people have been charged in the US with committing the fraud. Six were arrested in Estonia and another is thought to be in Russia. Two of the men have been extradited to New York. If convicted they could face decades in prison. In total they earned around $14m from the scheme.

Users had been warned by several sources, including Google, Facebook and ISPs, that they needed to run anti-virus software on their machines and remove the virus before it is too late.

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