Tens of thousands of people around the world, whose computers were infected with malware, may lose their Internet access Monday after the expiry of a US government fix, security experts said.
However, no trouble was reported in the early hours of Monday. The problem stems from malware known as DNS Changer, which was created by a gang of cybercriminals to redirect Internet traffic by hijacking the domain name systems of Web browsers.
The ring behind the DNS Changer virus, discovered in 2007, was shut down last year by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Estonian police and other law enforcement agencies.
Six Estonians and a Russian were charged in Estonia in November with infecting computers, including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) machines, with the malware as part of an online advertising scam that reaped at least $14 million.
Because the virus controlled so much Internet traffic, authorities obtained a court order to allow the FBI to operate replacement servers, which allow traffic to flow normally, even from infected computers.
The replacement servers were to have been shut down at 0401 GMT when some experts say infected computers could face an “Internet doomsday.”
“DNS Changer is an insidious form of malware affecting everyone from the everyday consumer to a large chunk of the Fortune 500,” security firm Internet Identity CEO Lars Harvey said.
The FBI, as well as Facebook, Google, Internet service providers and security firms have been scrambling to warn users about the problem and direct them to fixes.
According to a working group set up by experts, more than 300,000 computers remained infected as of June 11.
The largest number were in the United States (69,000), but more than a dozen countries — including Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, India and Italy — are also believed to have infected computers. (AFP)