By Wendy Sanacore
More than a year ago, a malware virus took over many personal computers. To control the virus spread, the FBI realized they couldn’t just turn off the malicious servers last year because all victims would lose their Internet service. Instead, the FBI set up a safety net by bringing in a private company to install two clean Internet servers to take over for the malicious servers to users would not suddenly be without Internet access.
On Monday, however, the temporary Internet system they set up will be shut down. About 64,000 computers are most likely still infected in the United States and more than 277,000 worldwide. And most victims don’t even know their computers are infected.
To check whether a computer is infected, users can visit this website run by a group brought in by the FBI: http://www.dcwg.org.
Q: What can I do if it appears that my PC is infected?
A: Make sure you have updated, working anti-virus protection, and educate yourself about how to use the scanning and cleanup tools that come with the top consumer anti-virus products. Keep in mind that malware is designed to resist detection and cleanup. Many types can only be eliminated by installing a fresh copy of the Windows operating system.
Q: What happens if I’m cut off?
A: You will have to contact your Internet service provider for help reconnecting to the Internet. Insist on guidance to also delete the malware, or criminals will continue to control your machine. Google and Facebook have created special warnings for this particular case. And Internet service providers have plans to try to help keep victims online. Comcast, for instance, has sent out e-mail, letters and Web notices to customers whose computers appeared to be affected.
By Wendy Sanacore