FBI Shuts Off Servers That Could Disconnect Thousands From The Net
Over 300,000 people, mostly in the US, but also within nations including Italy, India, and the UK could find themselves without internet access by the end of the day. In November 2011, the FBI seized servers which were being used by cyber criminals, as infected PC’s would re-route the victims’ web searches through their servers so adverts were displayed alongside web results. The gang has racked up more than $14 (£9m) by hijacking web searches and forcing their adverts on the public.
Domain names are words which consist of alphanumeric characters for example. ‘designaweb.co.uk’. DNS servers convert these characters into a numerical value which tells your computer the location of the website. The gang originally infected four million machines with malware called DNS Changer which has altered the DNS servers that are used to convert domain names to numbers. The number had gone down to 300,000 infected machines with the help of the FBI working with ISP’s and security firms to alert victims.
For the unlucky few, it could result in loss of internet connection as the FBI has planned to shut down the servers today. The PC’s that are still victims of the DNS changer will suddenly have nowhere to go to look up the location of a particular domain.
“Initially some domains will be cached which will mean web access will be spotty” Sean Sullivan, a secur8ity researcher at F-Secure. But it’s expected that the impact will be minimal because many of the machines may no longer be used or maintained.