Disconnected DNSChanger victims speak out (from their smartphones)
As CBC News reported last week, the DNSChanger trojan hit countless computers during a major hacking scam that the FBI took down in 2011.
To keep computers hit with the bug connected, the FBI replaced a network of rogue, criminally-operated servers with clean ones.
But after issuing several public warnings, the FBI removed this 'safety network' on July 9th as planned, leaving anyone with a computer still infected with the malware disconnected.
Unfortunately, it appears as though many people missed the warnings:
Many of those who commented on our original stories didn't appear to take the warning very seriously, and several claimed to have operating systems that are immune to the bug.
"I'm still getting ready for Y2K" - Sunnymedia
"The article discusses the steps to be taken if you're on Windows or Mac, but forgot to mention what to do if you're on Linux: First, take the family on a couple of days hiking in the mountains or swimming at the beach. Next, open a bottle of good wine and enjoy the sunset with your spouse." -dromeo
"Does this mean humans will actually have to talk to one another again? Whew that will be a long day." - Eagle 8
"Bad news: Thousands could lose internet access July 9 due to virus
Good news: Millions of workers would finally get some work done on a Monday
Millions of kids would have to go outside for fresh air and exercise
Millions of spouses would actually spend time together in conversation"- Allworld
"The same old story that will be followed up with offers to sell new Anti Virus software." - Occ192Ossie
"They have internet on computers now?... next." - sandwedge444
Others were hesitant to screen their computers for the malware, expressing concerns over the FBI's motivation.
"Now if you were the FBI and you wanted to scan everybody's computer, what would be a good way to get access without having to worry about search warrants and privacy and so on? How could you possibly get people to open their computers to you voluntarily?Now I don't "know" that this is the case, but at least I run Linux and don't have to worry about viruses." -FredWilliams
"What if the checker or the virus remover tools are hacked and replaced by viruses? or spyware? I'll take my chances with the first virus, thank you." - JJJJoe
"So now the FBI has all of the ISPs in Canada...boy did they ever trick us eh?" - Western Redneck
"Who here is wary of letting the FBI scan your system with dns-ok and opening up a backdoor to their vendors?" - aznrdnck
Despite some commenters' claims that those who contract malware are "gullable," many who consider themselves tech-savvy admitted to struggling with malicious software in the past.
When asked if they'd ever had to deal with a computer virus in a CBC Community web poll, 70% of our readers replied "Yes."
"I'm extremely tech savvy. Multi-Lingual, multi-platform programmer. I know how computers work, I know how operating systems work.
I was hit with malware. They got into the presentation layer of Windows somehow and took over my machine, locking me to an annoying, flashing ad for malware removal.
Easy fix though, I just went back to my last restore point."
"Went online last fall to do some business online banking and realized that two payments listed to Visa had been taken from my account that I knew were not mine. Initial assumption was that it was simply a mistake. As it was Saturday, I had to wait until Monday to go to my Credit Union. At the same time the computer began to act funny, in that it would go to a completely different website than the one that you would type in, so we shut the computer and quit using it.
Monday, after some investigating, it was figured out that someone had hacked my computer, recorded my figure strokes and was able to access my bank account online."
"Screen was 'highjacked' -- in other words, the computer was blocked from any movement, even exiting, with a demand for payment to get it unblocked. I'm one of the not very tech savvy users, but I do not trust even the so-called remedy software. These days it is difficult to know exactly who one is dealing with even if there are millions of endorsements etcetera for all these remedy-type software. Cyberspace is a force to be reckoned with and a certain degree of mistrust is warranted."
As always with stories about viruses, the eternal Mac vs. PC debate sprung up. But as CBC community member and information security professional The Tragically Flip points out, no machines are safe from DNSChanger, or malware in general.
"Linux and Mac users still need to exercise caution.
Even though there are less viruses written for Linux and Mac (they do exist) you are still likely running a major browser (Firefox, Opera, Chrome), and some of Java, Flash, Quicktime and other browser add-ons that are themselves frequently subject to vulnerabilities.
Windows is just the biggest target because it is the most common. Criminals like playing the odds."
If you're currently reading this on a smartphone and one of your computers is without internet access, full instructions for finding and removing the DNSchanger trojan can be found here.
Thank you, as always, for following our coverage. Please feel free to comment on or challenge any of these points and continue the conversation below.
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