July 8th, 2012
04:43 PM ET

Monday's Internet blackout: Justifiable hysterics or just hype?

An Internet blackout that will happen Monday has the webisphere scrambling.

Hundreds of thousands will be without Internet when the FBI shuts down selected servers supporting computers infected with the notorious virus, DNSChanger.

But are Internet hysterics warranted - or just hype?

The FBI is set to shut down servers that it initially created to support infected computers after the authors of the pesky malware were caught in November. Some reports put the number of U.S. Internet users who will go dark at less than 70,000 - a relatively small number of U.S. users.

Not sure if you're among the unlucky? The agency has offered a step-by-step plan on how to check to see if your computer has the virus.

The virus affected more than 4 million computers internationally. When infected users typed a domain name into their browser, DNSChanger rerouted them to fake ad sites, ultimately garnering millions of dollars for the six Estonian malware authors.  The FBI opted to set up servers that would allow infected users to stay on the Web without the fake ads.

Even though the number of those who will be without the Internet might not be worthy of all the hype, the World Wide Web  is a staple for getting through everyday life. And, whether reports are overblown will probably mean little to those who are going without on Monday. We want to know what the Internet means to you, so log in and tell uswhile you still can.

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Filed under: Technology • U.S.
soundoff (200 Responses)
  1. Oliver Fishcase

    This started 3 weeks ago when Yahoo started implementing their new ad server. The past few days has been like time travel back to the dial-up modem days. Now its affecting sites that are actually useful. Just pull the plug on Yahoo and their billions of SPAM accounts from all over the world.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. snowdogg

    Did the ck and everything is OK with all our computers. Took all of 30 seconds each... no big deal.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      This is unbelievable!!.....shows the greed of the country. Being able to surf the internet has been free from day one, and now they want to charge for it, what a freekin rip off. Should have known that it was just a matter of time before the government found a way to take it away from everybody. Just how many more things is big government going to control after this.........simply disgusting of the power greed.

      July 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeff

    1.) This is an attack that affects internet servers, which aren't usually Windows PCs anyway, they are UNIX running Apache, and MacOS is just FreeBSD UNIX, so stop your fanboy crowing.
    2.) Does anyone see the irony of a internet article about how the internet is about to go down?

    July 9, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      Yes, it is ironic to post this story on the internet.

      However, you are wrong about this being a Unix attack. It is a windows virus which redirected windows machines to a bad DNS server. The evil DNS servers could have been running Unix, but they could also have been running Windows or any other number of operating systems - the OS on the evil DNS servers is irrelevant.

      But I'll vote that this is overhyped....as the folks still using these servers have had YEARS to fix it, and if they were even remotely up to date on things like anti-virus, they would have fixed it. Frankly, these people don't deserve to be on the internet any longer.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Wastrel

      You don't understand it. This is a virus on home computers that makes them look at bogus servers for DNS information. The bogus servers then direct the home computer to the wrong sites. The real DNS servers are not affected and the bogus DNS servers (now taken down) were doing what they were supposed to do.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeanne Mealy

      Federal disaster officials warn that internet outages could force people to interact with other people for the first time in years. Affected users are bracing themselves for the horror of awkward silences and unwanted eye contact. FEMA advises: "Be prepared. Write down possible topics to discuss in advance. Sports...the weather. Remember, a conversation is basically a series of Facebook updates strung together."

      July 9, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  4. Randall Bart

    From what I read it seems the FBI handled this poorly. At first they just kept the DNS servers going, so no one would notice anything was wrong. But that's where they stayed. As the cut off approached, those who were still infected should have been occasionally rerouted to a page saying they are infected. Nothing I read says that was ever done. The cut off hit infected computers as a complete surprise.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael Davis

      It was only a complete surprise if you are not paying attention. I think the FBI did a great job giving people the time to check their systems and clean them if necessary. I also don't think it is overhyped. I'm a tech and there are plenty of people out there that have no idea what they are doing on their computers. It only takes one infected computer to cause a whole lot of grief.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. talbet

    A ploy to get you to an FBI website so they can nose in on your computer.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Wastrel

      talbet, you need to take off the tinfoil hat.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • C'mon get with it!

      Clearly you have no idea how this works. You're probably the same kind of guy that thinks jet vapor trails are sprays of mind-numbing drugs or that 9/11 was a conspiracy. PuhLeeeze. Posting this kind of stuff just makes you look stupid and crazy.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • fiveliters

      Yep,you got it-a bunch of guys in black suits and Ray-Bans are sitting around in a room at this very moment,watching you watch videos of your cat.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. Jeannie

    How much money did the FBI rake in by getting servers up all this time...more money disapearing into a black hole.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Wait. What? You think the FBI took over the malware to make money for themselves instead of for the guy who wrote the malware?

      July 9, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Myto Senseworth

    The FBI has completed it's investigation of the USA internet use, so the servers are no longer needed.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. ljd

    my computer won't connect :/ (posting this from phone)

    July 9, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. mike the electrician.

    Something smells like Y2K...If it goes down, the world won't end. The sun will rise and set. If it doesn't the world won't end.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. ComeBreakMe

    Internet Doomsday arrives? Please lol. 70,000 people effected (mostly server users) who aren't running Windows anyway! So joe schmoe internet surfer isn't going to even notice anything is different than any other day.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  11. deadorise

    LOL! FBI is lying about this and there is no internet blackout and virus either! FBI was giving us a dumb bad joke and they fail !

    July 9, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Thor

    Does anyone find it odd that the "FBI" did not do an official news conference, with a speaker in the usual government issue suit and tie, behind a podium with the official US FBI seal on it? All of these "FBI" reports are from written articles that are rarely read by anyone other than low level editors that have difficulty using spell check! Something doesn't seem real. And where are the quotes from Norton? McAfee? Microsoft? hmmmmmmmmm......

    July 9, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Slicc

      In response to Thor's confusion, this was news back in 2009 or so when the FBI helped break up the group that released this. Why would they hold a press event on old news, when it's just a friendly reminder.

      July 9, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Thor

    Use the new tools and let those who are stupid be punished!

    July 9, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
  14. humtake

    Why would it be hype? I don't understand. They should already have a warning system like this for the internet anyways if it's going to affect more than a few thousand people. Of course, nobody thinks to bring this stuff up until something happens and people whine and complain about it. Every major part of our lives should have some kind of warning system. It's not hype, it's called being informed.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
  15. chris collins

    Yea somethings going on. I dont buy the story at all. There probably trying to scare the masses so they can pass a new bill to spy on us easier.

    July 9, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
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