Lock the doors! Hide the children in the root cellar! Stock up on canned food! DNSChanger is coming and it’s Internet Doomsday!
If you see any of this coverage – which is now distressingly widespread – you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is actually an important security issue that requires action. It’s not.
If you’re curious, click on this link to go to a safe (but amateurish looking) DNSChanger Check-Up website. If it’s green – and it will be – your computer does not have this malware on it.
This comes up because of malware that hit up to a million computers worldwide in 2011. The malware would redirect Internet traffic from an infected computer to sites run by the bad guys. Last November the FBI shut down the bad guys running the malware but left systems in place so that infected computers wouldn’t lose their Internet connection while the machines were being cleaned off. Those systems will be taken offline in a few days and infected computers will not be able to browse the Internet until the overdue cleanup is finally done. Here’s an article with more background.
The malware was handled routinely by the security companies. I can’t find the exact statistic but Microsoft Security Essentials was updated to detect DNSChanger and prevent it from getting onto computers very, very shortly after it first appeared. All the security companies did the same thing. It happens every day – that’s why virus definitions are updated every four hours.
If you’ve been running security software, you don’t have DNSChanger malware on your computer.
It’s estimated that the malware is running on 64,000 computers in the US and somewhere over 300,000 computers worldwide. There are roughly 1.25 billion Windows PCs running today. Your odds are pretty good.
My favorite quote: “If you know your car might explode and crumble into a burning mass of parts in less than two weeks unless you got it serviced, you’d probably get it serviced, right? Do the same with your computer.”
Be careful out there but don’t panic.