About 250 000 computers worldwide still carried a computer virus that would cut their Internet access on July 9 if not fixed, the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) said.
The virus was used by an Estonian group to perpetrate a scam that redirected Internet traffic from the afflicted computers by altering how they interacted with the Domain Name System (DNS) – the service that translates domain names into numerical IP addresses.
FBI busted the group in November 2011 and set up clean DNS servers for the affected computers, but these servers will be shut down on July 9, the FBI said. At that point, computers still affected with the virus will lose their ability to connect to the Internet, but users could still get help from their Internet service providers.
Any number of anti-virus software products could remove the virus – known as TDSS, Alureon, TidServ and TDL4 – and users can check whether their computers are infected at dcwg.org, the website of the DNS Changer working group, created to help redress the damage done by the hacking group.
Beginning in 2007, the cyber ring used the virus to infect an estimated four million computers in more than 100 countries, using them to manipulate Internet advertising to generate at least $14 million in illicit fees, FBI said in November last year, when it announced the arrest of six Estonian nationals.
(Photo: Zsuzsanna Kilian/sxc.hu)