YOUR THREAT TO THE INTERNET
Are you infected? You have until July 9 to
April 22, 2012
Chronicle News & Opinion
(MONROE, WA) -- Some people, maybe hundreds of thousands won’t be able to connect to the Internet after July 9 unless they do one thing before that date.
But we get ahead of ourselves. What happened to precipitate this impending minor catastrophe?
In a nutshell, the FBI is responsible…in a roundabout way.
Some months ago a band of fairly rude international hackers ran an online advertising scam that was designed to take control of “infected” computers around the world – which evidently it did.
In response the FBI set up a computer “safety net” so to speak using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users -- all of which curiously has not resulted in any outrage from the screeching free market purists who are always harping at the government for intruding into the “free market” to (they argue) always make things worse, theory being that the market can handle its own computer infections quite nicely thank you without interference from those pesky feds.
At any rate, the FBI’s protective net (as it were) is about to be shut down and the problem is many computers are still infected but their owners do not know that.
This is the way things work in the hacker world.
So the FBI is encouraging computer owners to visit a website run by its security partner, www.dcwg.org, that will let them know whether their machines are infected and will also explain how to fix the problem if the boxes are indeed infected.
The trick is that after July 9, infected users won't be able to connect to the Internet unless they have already made the visit to www.dcwg.org and done whatever it was that the security folks told them to do.
In this case the security company appears to be in cahoots with the FBI to intrude into the sacred free market and therefore God knows what calamity might befall us all.
At any rate, most people who own computers that are infected do not know they are infected although the malicious software (malware) may have slowed their web surfing a bit and disabled their antivirus software, which in turn makes the computers even more vulnerable to other problems.
We told you at the start these were rude international hackers with no sense of decency.
So it is up to you to check your PC at the aforementioned website before July 9.
The feds estimate that upwards of more than 570,000 computers worldwide have the nasty bug in them – a bug that took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system (sound familiar?) to install malicious software on all those machines.
A bug that turned off antivirus updates and changed the way the computers “reconcile website addresses” behind the scenes on the Internet's domain name system.
The bug reprograms computers to use “rogue DNS servers owned by the attackers,” which in turn allows the attackers to redirect computers to fraudulent versions of any website.
The DNS system is a network of computer servers that translates a web address - such as www.yomommasucksrotteneggs.com - into the numerical addresses that computers use.
It is all very complicated and we don’t really have time to go into it right now so suffice to say get thee to that security website before July 9th or you just might have a rude awakening when you go to the Internet to download some stuff you don’t want your grandma to know you are downloading.
Also, here’s a couple of websites – compliments of Farmer Bill in Eastern Washington – to help you determine if your computer is infected:
And for all you free market purists, you’re not going to like this part at all.
The feds say they’re gonna do this kind of thing – jumping in with a safety net to protect the sacred free market and putting a nasty monkey wrench into the natural order of things as God intended them to be – again and again in the future.
"This is the future of what we will be doing," said Eric Strom, a unit chief in the FBI's Cyber Division. "Until there is a change in legal system, both inside and outside the United States, to get up to speed with the cyber problem, we will have to go down these paths, trail-blazing if you will, on these types of investigations."
Uh-oh. Somebody call the Tea Party because there goes the neighborhood.