A computer virus might responsible for thousands of internet outages on July 7, 2012. Hackers wrote a malicious program that turns off the Anti-virus software and alters the DNS routing of websites by pointing the browser to a rogue server. A DNS server translates a web address, such as Gather.com to the numerical system that the computer understands.
International hackers began an online advertising scam that began in November, 2011. Most victims do not know that the virus is on their computer. Some 570,000 computers worldwide are affected. They took advantage of vulnerabilities in the Microsoft Windows operating system to install the computer virus. The best way to keep your computer system clean is to keep your antivirus software up to date and install MalWare software also.
The exact number of victims is hard to pinpoint, but the FBI believes that on the day of the arrests, at least 568,000 unique Internet addresses were using the rogue servers. In March, the FBI estimates that the number is down to at least 360,000. The US has the most, about 85,000, federal authorities said. Other countries with more than 20,000 each include Italy, India, England and Germany. Other nations which have a small amount of victims are Spain, France, Canada, China and Mexico.
When the FBI and others arrested six Estonians last November, the agency replaced the rogue servers with Vixie's clean ones. Installing and running the two substitute servers for eight months is costing the federal government about $87,000, according to the AP.
The FBI set up another service months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system is going to shut down in July. The plan was to shut down in March, but a federal judge extended the deadline to July 9th. The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner that will tell them whether they're infected and explain how to fix the problem.
This is the first time the FBI has used such servers but it certainly won't be the last. With hackers becoming more advanced and more money being made, attacks will become more frequent.