Updated 07/09/2012 01:53 PM
Malicious malware shuts down internet for thousands
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CHARLOTTE-- Thousands of people across the country, and hundreds of thousands around the world, are finding that they are without internet Monday, due to malicious software infecting their computer. While the Charlotte FBI was estimating that only about 85,000 computers were still infected in the U.S. as of Friday, for those impacted, it's a hassle.
Chris Finley owns The Computer Fixers in Charlotte, and he says for the past couple of weeks, customers have been calling to ask what they should do about the DNS malware affecting computers across the country.
"I was like wow, we're going to be busy as I was coming into work because we know about the virus, and I just can imagine there's going to be a lot of people not having access to the internet today,” said Finley.
The malicious software actually affected the computers last year, and the FBI says the hackers came and attacked you.
"It got installed in your computer either through an e-mail address, you went to a website that downloaded it onto your machine without you being aware of [it], there are a couple of ways it was added,” said Colleen Moss, FBI Supervisory Special Agent in cyber crime.
Once added, it stopped your computer from updating, and virus protection and patches are out of date.
"So many people have virus scan or think they've updated their machines are not actually updated. Because of that, you may have more than just this one piece of malicious code on your machine, you might have several,” said Moss.
An organized group from Estonia is responsible for the malware. They were arrested in November, and to make sure the initial infected computers wouldn't lose internet, a temporary "safety net" was put up to keep those computers online.
"We left them up for about nine months, and we figured in those nine months, we might be able to get the word out so that everyone wouldn't' be impacted when we took them down,” said Moss.
Many people did check their computers and get them fixed before the clock struck midnight. Those who didn't are now left without internet, and have to either wipe their computer clean, or take it to a professional for help.
"It's definitely going to make a lot of users more conscious of where they're going on a website,” said Finley.
If you do have an infected computer and have to reformat it, just remember to back up your data so you don't lose everything. The FBI also recommends you keep your virus protection up to date, don't open emails from people you don't know, and keep your firewall turned on to help protect yourself from incidents such as this in the future.