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Facebook warns about DNSChanger botnetBy Ryan Noik 6 June 2012 | Categories: news
Back in 1999, at the turn of the millennium, many anticipated a global computer Armageddon due to the threat of a Y2K bug.
While that envisioned catastrophe of monumental scope never happened, a very real and alarmingly sudden disconnection from the internet is looming for those infected by the DNSChanger botnet, come the 9th of July.
In a blog post this week, Facebook joined Google in warning its users about the impact of the DNSChanger botnet. Users of the social network with infected computers who log into their Facebook account leading up the D-Day (Disconnection day), may just find a notification from Facebook advising them about the existence of the botnet.
The alert would also warn them that they may face imminent disconnection from the information lifeblood of the internet in the month ahead, should the botnet not be cleaned from their systems. While the threat does not originate with Facebook, the social network has a vested interest in not having thousands of its members suddenly cut off from the internet as a whole.
Instead, the threat comes from a long running botnet which has apparently been infecting millions of computers since 2007.The botnet took control of directing the traffic of infected users, by manipulating search results, displaying advertisements for fake or malicious products, and directing victims to malicious websites, the post elaborated.
In so doing though, it also became a gateway for many internet users to connect to the internet in general.
When the group operating the DNSChanger malware botnets were arrested last year and its servers were seized by law enforcement, it was decided to continue using the servers to direct internet traffic, given the scope of the infection.
However, next month these servers will be taken offline, leaving infected users with no way to resolve internet addresses and thus without access to the internet or their email, unless they address the infection.
To this end, Facebook has joined the clean-up effort by participating in the DNSChanger Working Group, which is comprised of computer security experts from the public, private, and academic sectors. As a result, the social network explained that it can now notify users likely infected with DNSChanger malware and direct them to instructions on how to clean their computer or networks.
To the point
Unfortunately though, cleaning up the infection and restoring one’s correct DNS server does require some work. Users who receive the notification from Facebook can visit the DNSChanger Working Group's Detection Page for instructions.
Facebook’s participation in addressing the problem ahead of next month’s shut down comes in the wake of a similar announcement made by Google last month, advising users about the problem.
Our advise: don’t wait till the last minute to address an infected machine. For those for whom internet connectivity is essential for their work as well as their recreation, sudden disconnection can seem, if not actually be, catastrophic.
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