Eight months ago, FBI reported to have arrested six cyber criminals, who were charged for the illegal Rove Digital (“Operation Ghost Click”) activity, during which the group developed and distributed numerous DNSChanger viruses. Better known by the name Alureon, infectious applications were designed to alter DNS (Domain Name System) settings, modify search results, offer to purchase bogus software, and perform other latent and highly illegal actions. Since November of 2011, FBI were monitoring infected DNS Servers, which kept the dangerous Changer virus active, and washingtonpost.com reports that there could have been up to 277 thousand of computers, which were linked to these servers up until the beginning of July. It is worth mentioning that over a quarter of infected systems (64,000) were located in the United States only.
Immediately after the charges were set, FBI replaced infected servers, so that hundreds of thousands of users would not lose Internet connection right away. However, July 9, 2012 is the date when FBI put the DNSChanger Virus to an end, as the replaced servers were shut down for good. Prior to this, companies like Google, Comcast and Facebook took time to warn people about the action to be taken:
Sample FBI Puts an End to DNSChanger Virus screenshot
Click here for full removal instructions
“Starting today we’re undertaking an effort to notify roughly half a million people whose computers or home routers are infected with a well-publicized form of malware known as DNSChanger. After successfully alerting a million users last summer to a different type of malware, we’ve replicated this method and have started showing warnings via a special message that will appear at the top of the Google search results page for users with affected devices” – read the rest of the report here.
Those users, whose computers on July 9th were still infected with DNSChanger, lost their Internet connection for good, and the chaos started. Many affected systems’ owners did not know anything about the FBI actions or the virus itself, and were shocked to find out the detriment. Despite FBI’s struggle setting up a website, dedicated to informing computer users about forthcoming outcome, and tens of companies warning its consumers individually, thousands of computers are now crippled, and equally as many users are left stranded in the suspense.