FBI: Web will go dark for 350,000 infected Internet users starting July 9

ghost click

If you’re one of an unlucky 350,000 Internet users out there, your Internet connection could black out on July 9.

In an effort to clean up the mess left behind by an “Internet fraud ring,” the FBI is urging Internet users to check their computers for an infection by a DNSChanger, a DNS redirecting malware that infected over 4.2 million computers, and could still affect many.

In November 2011, in an FBI sting called “Operation Ghost Click,” six Estonian nationals were arrested for running a sophisticated crime ring. Their malware, DNSChanger, netted them over $14 million in illicit revenue. The malware in question worked like this: When you click on a link to a website or type in its URL, your computer sends a request to a DNS server, which translates the URL into the appropriate IP address. The IP address is sent back to your browser, which can then find the website in question. The DNSChanger would hijack the requests of infected users and redirect the requests to their own DNS servers. Their DNS servers would then translate the URLs into an illegitimate IP address and trick the browser into displaying a different website. Essentially, trying to access YouTube could send you to a porn site.

How did DNSChanger benefit its creators and harm its victims?

1. Directing users away from a legitimate site denies that site the traffic (and ad revenue) it would have had.

2. Redirected users were funneled to the website of the ring’s customers, who believed they were paying for traffic from Internet users who intended to click on their ads.

3. Users who were redirected to the website of a business due to the ring may have been perceived as being illegitimate businesses.

4. The DNSChanger was built to also prevent users from cleaning the malware using anti-virus software, which then would prevent users from protecting themselves against other viruses and malware.

Due to millions of Internet users who were infected and relying on these fake DNS servers to access websites, the government decided against immediately shutting it down and instead opted to convert them to temporary clean DNS servers. But having cleaned all but 350,000 devices, DWCG, the organization tasked to maintain and oversee the servers, announced that the servers will be shut down on July 9. Consequently, infected devices will lose access to the Internet.

If you’d like to check to see if your computer is DNSChanger-free or have been infected, you can visit DWCG’s site and have your computer checked in a diagnosis that takes mere seconds. If you’re given the clean bill of health you should be green-lighted like below.

dns ok
Computing

Don’t be fooled! Study exposes most popular phishing email subject lines

Phishing emails are on the rise and a new study out by the cybersecurity company Barracuda has exposed some of the most common phishing email subject lines used to exploit businesses. 
Mobile

Rooting your Android device is risky. Do it right with our handy guide

Wondering whether to root your Android smartphone or stick with stock Android? Perhaps you’ve decided to do it and you just need to know how? Here, you'll find an explanation and a quick guide on how to root Android devices.
Computing

Dodge the cryptojackers with the best torrent clients available today

Looking for the best torrent clients to help you share all of that wonderful legal content you own? Here's a list of our favorite torrent clients, all packed with great features while dodging malware and adverts.
Computing

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are tools you can use both online and offline. This step-by-step guide will instruct you on how to use them.
Computing

G-Sync and FreeSync can make your games look better, but which is best?

There are some subtle differences between the two adaptive refresh technology offerings, and they affect cost, performance, and compatibility. Nvidia may have released it's feature first, but in recent years AMD has stepped up to the plate…
Computing

Problems with installing or updating Windows 10? Here's how to fix them

Upgrading to the newest version of Windows 10 is usually a breeze, but sometimes you run into issues. Never fear though. Our guide will help you isolate the issue at hand and solve it in a timely manner.
Product Review

Acer Predator Triton 500 review

Nvidia’s new RTX 2080 Max-Q is the fastest GPU you’ll find in any laptop, but it usually comes at a steep price. Acer’s Predator Triton 500, starting at $2,500, makes it a little more affordable. But what must you sacrifice in the…
Computing

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Computing

Get the Surface Pro 6, with keyboard included, for $1,000 at Microsoft

Thinking of buying a Surface Pro 6? Microsoft is currently running a deal on its latest Windows 2-in-1, letting you bring one home for $1,000 with the keyboard included in the price.
Computing

T-Mobile goes after big cable companies, pilots wireless home internet service

In a shot at big cable companies, T-Mobile is launching a new pilot program to bring an unlimited wireless LTE home internet service to up to 50,000 homes across the United States by the end of 2019.
Mobile

Type away on the best iPad keyboard cases, from the Mini to the Pro

Whether you're looking to replace your laptop with a tablet or merely want to increase your typing speed, a physical iPad keyboard is the perfect companion to the iPad. Check out our top picks for every available iPad model.
Computing

Tablet or notebook? Our favorite 2-in-1 PCs give you the best of both worlds

If you can’t decide if you need a tablet or a notebook, then don’t bother. The best 2-in-1 laptops are both, and they can provide all the power you need. Check out our list for the best 2-in-1s for any user.
Computing

How the Google Stadia could lead to a new era of multi-GPU gaming

Google's Stadia could use more than one graphics card to deliver the high-performance visuals it's promised. If that leads to better developer support for multi-GPUs, could that mean gaming with two or more graphics cards could finally be…
Computing

Intel gives a peek at what its Arctic Sound GPU could look like

A new set of concept images shown at GDC 2019 is providing a peek at what Intel's upcoming modern discrete GPU, code-named. Arctic Sound, could end up looking like when released in 2020.