- Internet & the Web
The Wrong Doomsday: Internet Apocalypse
There was an internet virus that has been known by several names and designations but one of the most descriptive names for it is DNSChanger. DNS, which stands for Domain Name Service is a group of computers that tell your computer where to get off and where to go on the internet. The fact is that computers don’t actually know what you mean when you type www google com. Real internet addresses that computers actually know what to do with are a series of numbers. In the case of Google the numbers may look like this:
22.214.171.124. And with a big outfit like Google, that series of digits may actually be different every time you contact Google because Google has many different computers talking to the outside world. You will probably not get the same Google computer every time you run a search.
The DNS system provides a look up that changes the words you use into a string of numbers that computers understand. In that way when you type an address for Google or Yahoo, you can get where you intended to go
Now suppose some unscrupulous hackers got a hold of the DNS system. They could provide false routing information and send your computer to wherever they wanted. They could send your computer to a website that would bombard you with advertising or give your computer a virus.
It turns out that some hackers did get a hold of one of the banks of DNS look up computers. The hacked DNS system serves thousands and perhaps hundreds of thousands of computers.
The FBI tracked down these fake DNS computers and rather than shutting down the fake DNS changers, the FBI decided to run them for a while. On July 9, 2012 the FBI will stop running the fake DNS computers. This means that if your computer was unlucky enough to be infected by the DNSChanger virus, you are about to lose your internet connection.
What you need to do is to get your computer checked out and if necessary, disinfected. Get a DNS Computer Checkup Here!
As long as you are about it, along with getting your computer checked out for this particular purpose, there are a number of other preventative measures which you should be taking if you have not already.
Change all your passwords at least once per year.
Back up all your files and if possible store the backups in a different location than the computer. If your house burned down and the backups burned up too, that would not do you much good. Many will observe that if your house burned down you would have bigger problems than missing files. Well that depends. For some people their livelihood and their whole means to buy back all that good stuff that got burned up is on their computer. There are online Internet software backup companies that act as that secondary location if that’s the way you want to go.
Considered getting your computer nuked from orbit or geeked. Different people have different terms for this concept but the idea is that after you get all of your records and files backed up, you then dig up all the operating system files, software files and drivers for your system. If you are an expert at it, then at this point, reformat the hard drive and reload the system. Since you are not an expert, pay a geek to do it.
Why should you do this? Despite your best efforts, there could be malware on your computer right now. Not every bad piece of virus code eats your computer while screaming bloody murder.
In fact, some virus software makes absolutely certain you never notice it until it steals your passwords and loots your bank accounts.
Just like Ripley in the movie Aliens, the only way to be sure is to “nuke the hard drive.” Wipe it clean and start over. Don’t try this at home unless you know what you are doing. If you “think” you know what you are doing--you don’t. Pay a geek to do it.