The FBI says it’s time for people to make sure their computers aren’t infected by an unusual virus. Right now, hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide are infected and will be unable to surf the Web after July 9.
The whole thing started with a hacker gang - they allegedly installed malicious software on more than 570,000 computers which re-routed web surfers to other websites on rogue servers in order to rake in advertising dollars.
The feds busted the hackers, but realized that all those infected computers would be unable to surf the Web once the rogue servers were shut down. So, the FBI set up its own server system to keep those computers Web-worthy. The FBI says it’s paid $87,000 to keep these infected computers running, so they’re pulling the plug… on July 9.
Windows users are advised to visit www.dcwg.org, which will show you whether you’ve been infected and guide you through a quick fix.
In related news, according to a study by Microsoft, if your computer is infected with a virus, it’s probably because of something you did.
Microsoft found that the largest group of malware attacks on its Windows operating systems (45%) happened because of some kind of action taken by the computer’s operator. It may have been as simple as clicking a link or downloading an infected file, but a human was the culprit.
Viruses are hard to escape: Most of the e-mail messages sent over the Internet are unwanted. It can be difficult to spot viruses in email.
Microsoft says that 43% of PC attacks were automatically installed because they took advantage of Windows’ AutoRun function, where files automatically open and run.
A virus through the Java software, which runs applications on the Web, was responsible for between 33% and 50% of all exploits during each of the past four quarters.