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Internet could go down for thousands on July 9

TORONTO – If you can’t seem to connect to the internet on July 9, your computer is probably infected by the DNSChanger virus.

Authorities have been using temporary DNS (Domain Name System) servers to help those affected by the virus, but on July 9, these servers expire.

The scheme

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), this latest shutdown is the last step in Operation Ghost Click, a two-year international investigation that exposed an Estonian criminal ring responsible for infecting 4 million computers in about 100 countries around the world.

The scheme consisted of infecting computers with the DNSChanger malware that rerouted users’ DNS through rogue servers instead of legitimate ones, interfering with web browsing and making computers vulnerable to other kinds of malicious software. This helped the criminals manipulate internet advertising, generating millions of dollars in illicit revenues.

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What’s a DNS?

DNS, or Domain Name System, is an internet service that converts domain names such as http://www.globalnews.ca into numerical addresses that allow computers to talk to each other. This process is necessary for users to send e-mails, browse the web and connect to any internet service.

Do you have the virus?

To see if you have the virus, you can go to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s website to check: http://www.dns-ok.ca/. Once you find out the status of your computer, you can follow a link to the DNS Changer Working Group‘s website, where clear instructions are provided as to how to remove the virus.