Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Thousands Lose Internet
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) -- At the stroke of midnight, the internet went dark for an estimated 60,000 to 70,000 computers in the United States.
Stephen Finner, Computer Science Professor at USC, says those who lost internet access had computers infected with "The DNS Changer."
"There were some hackers mostly Estonian and one Russian who found a way to divert some internet traffic to their own sites," says Finner.
Sites affected include those like Google and Facebook.
"Instead of sending the name to a legitimate DNS Server, it would be sent to one of the rogue DNS servers," says Finner.
This all came to light through a FBI investigation dating back to 2008. The FBI wanted to shut down the servers in November of last year, but there was a problem.
"If they shut down these servers all those infected computers would lose their DNS access," says Finner.
So instead, the FBI worked with companies to produce two other temporary servers until last night, when those were shut down.
But you aren't left high and dry.
Crandall Sims reporting, "In order to help those affected by the problem, the FBI has created the website dcwg.org, there you will find ways to detect whether or not you have the DNS Changer, which by now you should know. There's also information on the site to help you fix the problem and to further protect your computer."
Finner says the number one way to protect your computer is a solid password.
Some tips include: Do not use common phrases or words. Bad examples includ: Password or 123456
Instead, use a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation if the website allows.
In the meantime, if your computer has been infected with a DNS Changer, the best advice is to contact your internet service provider, for further assistance.
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