TEN thousand Australian internet users are among 4 million worldwide who face a total internet blackout from July 9, thanks to a malicious piece of software that infected their computers without their knowledge.
That is the warning from the Australian Communications and Media Authority, which yesterday issued a statement appealing to internet users to check to see if their computers were infected.
The communications regulator, together with other government agencies, has set up the website dns-ok.gov.au to allow web users to check their computer for the malicious software and remove it if necessary.
Advertisement: Story continues below
The web blackout from July 9 will be enforced by the FBI, which is shutting down several web servers through which infected users' web traffic has been travelling.
It is shutting them down because of an investigation into a sophisticated internet fraud ring that used the servers to manipulate people's web browsing.
The malware changes a user's domain name system (DNS) settings, diverting all web requests through servers that the FBI seized in November, but has been temporarily maintaining to ensure internet services were not disrupted. This maintenance will finish on July 9, meaning computers still infected will face internet troubles.
''It is likely that users infected will be unable to connect to the internet when the temporary DNS solution is switched off,'' the dns-ok.gov.au website states.
Bruce Matthews, manager of the ACMA's e-Security division, said that since November last year, the watchdog had seen more than 10,000 Australian internet users infected with the ''DNSChanger'' malware.
Mr Matthews said the ACMA had worked with Australian internet services providers to try to reduce the number of infected users since.
But the number had been reduced by only a few thousand since November.
He said the way in which users were most commonly infected by the malware included opening malicious attachments in emails and visiting suspect websites through links included in an email.
Paul Ducklin, of the security firm Sophos, said users may have been infected by the malware in the past, and may have removed it, but could still face problems on July 9 if they did not change their DNS settings.
''So it's important to remember that even if your anti-virus gives you a clean bill of health about malware infection, you might nevertheless still be affected by a lingering side-effect of the malware,'' he said.
Code: Select all
The FBI is the worlds policeman now?
I thought they were an American law enforcement agency--I don't see how they would have authority to, say, shut down my ISP in Australia.
Block it off from US content if it needs to, but leave the rest alone. IMO
Don't they have better things to do ?
FBI targets thousands of Aussie internet users in Fraud sting over malicious software
March 30, 2012 9:18AM
Ten thousand Aussie internet users hit
FBI will shut down affected servers in blackout
AT least ten thousand Australian internet users have been caught up in an international fraud ring and face having their internet shut off by the FBI.
The affected users will be hit by a worldwide internet blackout involving four million internet connections after their computers were affected by malicious software, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
The planned blackout will be the result of the FBI shutting down certain servers as part of their investigation into manipulated web browsing.
The servers which the software was routing people's browsing through, manipulated browsing habits and diverted all traffic through the fraud rings servers, according to the FBI.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has
for how to check if you are infected and how to remove the software.
Code: Select all