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Digital Doomsday

July 09, 2012 Security

Can You See Me Now?


While it would be easy to write, this is not another article about the importance of anti-virus and security. The threats that lurk on the Internet have been well-communicated over the years. Connecting an unprotected computer to the Internet or to an  office network is digital Russian roulette. It is critical to have each inter-connected computer up-to-date with anti-virus software. Maintaining updated computer and antivirus software helps to protect you from 1,000s of online threats including...DOOMSDAY!

Digital Doomsday is July 9, 2012. Before stockpiling food and water it is important to understand the history of Digital Doomsday. The story behind Digital Doomsday reads like a modern day spy story.

In late 2011, the FBI - working in coordination with international authorities - arrested six people responsible for creating and distributing a new Trojan/virus named DNS changer. Unfortunately, the group was very successful in spreading this virus globally to more than 100 countries and possibly millions of computer systems. This virus changed computer DNS settings - the settings which guide you on the Internet - on each infected computer system. This group used the changed settings to direct the computers to their own systems. Instead of using good, reliable settings to lookup technical information on the Internet, the  infected computer used the “bad” settings to search. The “bad” settings directed people to incorrect web pages and many less-than-desirable locations on the Internet. This one little change means an infected computer system can be mis-directed to
anywhere the cyber criminals desire.

Once the criminals were in custody, the FBI came up with a plan to help temporarily fix the situation. The “bad”
servers providing DNS were converted to “good” servers. This conversion meant that the correct, validated information was being sent and received across the Internet. Websites were connecting and computers were communicating properly.

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. Effective July 9, 2012, the “good’ replacement servers are scheduled to
be taken offline. That means each infected computer will no longer be able to find or connect to ANYTHING on the Internet. Essentially, it will be an Internet blackout on each computer system that has been infected. The key is to understand the problem and to take the necessary steps now - should a system be infected - by correcting the DNS settings. You don’t want to be taken by surprise on your home computer system and find yourself in an Internet black hole next month. Some resources are listed below about the DNS changer and Digital Doomsday. - Jeff Eisenhower, Director of Technical Services


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