local experts say your computer really will be pushed off line Monday if you don't take action
Many of us have been numbed by all of the purported threats to the Internet that fizzled, like the infamous 'Y2K' scare, but the FBI and local computer experts assure us that the 'DNS Changer' virus is very real, and could knock hundreds of thousands of us off line at 12:01 AM on Monday, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Gregory White, who heads the Center for Infrastructure Assurance and Security at UTSA says it started last year, when the FBI cracked a group of Estonian hackers who were committing what is called 'click fraud,' taking over computers to have their clicks show up on web sites which were paying the hackers per click.
"If I type in www.xyz.com, where is xyz, what is its address, how do I find it?" White said. "That's what the DNS server does."
He says after the FBI took down the scam, it kept the servers which had routed the computers to improper addresses up, so as to give time for infected computers to clean their systems.
That time runs out on Monday.
"If you haven't cleaned up your computer, when you try to go to familiar web sites that you know are there, it'll basically come back and basically not be able to resolve the address, and will just say 'address unknown,' that kind of error message."
There are several web sites where you can go, which will not load any software onto your computer, and will not spam you, and will not charge you anything, which will check to see whether your computer is infected. These include:
www.dns-changer.eu (in Spanish)
The sites will tell you whether your computer is infected, and if it is, will direct you to sites where it can be cleaned for free.