Thousands of computers across the U.S. won't be able to access the internet come Monday, July 9th. Yours could be one of them. Here's a simple check to see if you might be affected by malware called DNS Changer. All it takes is one visit to a special website.
Several years ago, the FBI took down a group of hackers spreading malware called DNS changer. It changes a computer's settings to redirect web traffic to spammy sites. Hackers made money when people clicked the links.
Since then, the FBI has had a temporary fix in place to keep traffic away from the bad servers. But that ends July 9th.
Kevin Haley, a security specialist at Symantec, the makers of Noron Anti-Virus, explained why the FBI was shutting down this temporary fix.
He says, "Well they can't keep these servers up and operating forever. The numbers are down from half a million people affected to 300 thousand, to 70 thousand in the U.S."
Yet while the numbers have decreased significantly, the 70 thousand people left will have some trouble if their computers are still infected.
Haley says, "When they try to attempt to access to internet, they will get a server not found. They won't be able to find any websites."
That means no Facebook, no twitter, no email, no nothing.
So how do you figure out if you're infected and what do you do to fix it?
"Well there's a really easy step. The FBI has set up a website," explains Haley, "You go to that website and it'll tell you immediately if you're infected or not. It'll take you two seconds to do it."
It's pretty simple to see if your computer has the issue. Just go to the website http://dns-ok.us. If it comes up red, you've got the issue; if it's green, you're good to go!
So if the website comes up red and you have the issue, how do you get rid of it?
Haley says step by step instructions will help you fix the problem.
"There'll be instructions there on how to change your DNS setting," adds Haley, "So that's the official name of it. You'll have to change some numbers and a file on your computer and it'll step you through the process.
Anti-Virus software on your computer might have removed the malware, but the changed setting might remain which is why you need to check it now. This is the time to check your computer because come July 9th, you won't be able to get on the internet.
"If you don't check it out now when the problem occurs, you won't be able to access the internet, and you may not even know what the problem is," urges Haley.