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. biglifter

    It better just be hype. I'm waiting on some lottery funds from Nigeria that are due to be delivered anyday now.

    July 9, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • colbey

      awesome post. thanks for the laugh. consider this your 'thumbs up.'

      July 9, 2012 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
    • wendy

      How can you be getting the millions, they belong to me!!!!!!!! LOL

      July 9, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
    • colbey

      ah...i see. hitting "reply" here at cnn does not actually mean "reply" as it is normally used on websites. so my previous post was directed to biglifter.

      July 9, 2012 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |

      Nigeria rules!

      July 9, 2012 at 5:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. John

    Months of warnings and blah blah blah ... deal with it and move on. Can't fix stupid.

    July 9, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. Catherine

    "The FBI is set to shut down servers that it initially created to support infected computers."

    So how did the FBI know what computers were infected and reroute them? Why not just "fix" the computers? Why give them special servers and now shut them off. IF they know WHO has the infected comuters and routed them to special servers why not just tell the "owners" of said computers. I smell a fish, 3 day old rotting fish.

    July 9, 2012 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
    • A Server Technician

      Because the servers probably have to be rebooted in order to complete the fix. Any time you disinfect a virus-infected DNS server, there's a certain order in which things have to be done and therefore you're going to have to bring an alternate DNS server up or you'll deny your end users service while the server is brought down and rebooted. It isn't as easy as rebooting a normal computer.

      July 9, 2012 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |

      Funny, how all of a sudden, FBI knows so much about computers. Wonder "what else" they scanning for, when you go to that "FREE DNSCHANGER SCAN." This looks to be about as serious as was Y2K.

      July 9, 2012 at 5:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan I

      They DIDN'T know what computers were infected. The virus on your computer redirected it to the spoof DNS servers which were now funded by the FBI (the FBI was NOT operating these servers, they were paying the cost of operating them). Those servers now worked properly instead of being malware. But operating DNS servers is expensive and the FBI is no longer willing to bear the cost.

      July 9, 2012 at 8:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. Gabe

    Bobak...u r grossly misinformed. I use apple products and love them, but anyone using ANY operating system who thinks they are safe from malware should do more research.

    July 9, 2012 at 12:50 am | Report abuse |
  5. ryan evans

    why is this the fbi's job? who gave them this authority, and why? The public has long been able to handle any malware threat just fine, what makes dnschanger different from any other browser hijacking worm that it warrants allowing the federal gov't to shut down the web? something ain't right.

    July 9, 2012 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Botted pcs can be used to mount a distributed denial of service attack – basicaly flood a server with requests until it falls over and hackers can access the information available to that server. Those servers may be in a bank or a US government office... get the reason why FBI is involved now?

      July 9, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |

      Not only that, but how's come I haven't received anything [alert] from something like Symantec, or AVG, or Avira, or Kaspersky? Sure looks a little "fishy" to me.

      July 9, 2012 at 5:33 am | Report abuse |
  6. nunya

    femace ???????? What the hell is that? And to the one who said "when I was a youngin (I'm 23 now)........... so, what was that? ..... about 10 years ago? And you're complaining about a generation dependent on 'mechanical devices' ? YOU have had these same devices when you were growing up, so what's the difference between them and you?
    When I was a young 'un (proper spelling) we were lucky to have a color TV, never mind a computer – or a video game (what are those things?). And I will never figure out why computer manufacturers included a 'spell check' feature in their OS's. (shaking head) Nobody uses it and nobody cares! And don't EVEN get me started on grammar amd punctuation. You kids are too busy twitting (hah – on purpose) ...... or txtng – and you people are gonna be running this country some day ?? Looks like I'll have to shine my jack boots and practice my goose stepping (or learn how to speak Chinese, or Russian, or.... ).

    July 9, 2012 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
    • TeachAman

      Lighten up, Francis.

      July 9, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
    • phunk

      "Grammar amd punctuation", huh? Those who live in glass houses...

      July 9, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
    • dragonwife

      I'm glad I'm not the only one who's shaking her head in despair at the growing ignorance of the general public. Yes, kids and teenagers today are a lot more tech-savvy than we were, but that's mainly because they've grown up with all the gadgets. Despite what a lot of people say (mostly those who are the worst offenders), correct spelling and good grammar DO count. When I read something from someone who can't use to/too/two or their/they're or your/you're correctly, my first impression is that the person is either ignorant or careless. And we've all seen the people who can't make change or figure out a 20% off sale price without whipping out a calculator. (Note that I do realize that in formal writing you shouldn't begin a sentence with a conjunction, but this isn't formal, so don't nit-pick.) I may not have walked uphill both ways to & from school, but I'm old enough to remember when kids actually had to learn spelling, grammar, and basic math AND actually pass a knowledge test before advancing to the next class. Wow, I must be ancient!

      July 9, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      Well put... "texting" will be the ultimate demise of true communication. I am ancient also.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • The Truth

      Fully agree dragonwife, how you write and talk is a direct reflection on your intelligence. How you speek and write says more about you than anything else. Next up are basic skills that involve math, history and the sciences. Its pretty sad in the day were the world's knowledge is at our fingertips people know less and can do less without the internet. The internet should be a tool to enhance the basic skills and knowledge we already have, not to be used as a crutch to perform basic things like calculate a tip.

      July 9, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
    • ejgcs

      I am so glad to find someone else who actually learned grammar, punctuation, spelling and math in school. We actually had to do the math without calculators. They hadn't been invented yet. We also learned to tell time on clocks with hands because digital clocks hadn't been invented yet either. It's a shame people don't believe these studies are important anymore. I think they are in too much of a hurry, hurry mode to even care. With all the gadgets, I believe one day reading and writing will disappear. The machines will do everything, and people won't have to think at all. I'm responding on my computer at work. I don't, and won't, have one of them in my home.

      July 9, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris collins

      So not true. The only reason they use calculators today is because the math is more complicated and it would be pointless to spend all day doing one problem. Physical books will be gone but digital is just as good. Dont fear technology fear those who abuse it.

      July 9, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Fernace is a username, similar to your 'nunya'.
      That answer your question, sparky?

      July 9, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Andy levin

    Well I dont guess Im infected. I dont think anybody is. This is just to get us ready for a new cyber security bill so they can spy a little more.

    July 9, 2012 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. popocatepel

    Thats great for those who are always on facebook get a life

    July 9, 2012 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lady Vee

    Mass hysteria yet again... Level orange alert... Hahaha

    July 9, 2012 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. Ken

    The only valid reason for a person to lose their Internet Service simply put is because they are or were to lazy to take a few minutes to insure that they were not infected or to fix t if they were. After all this time, anyone infected should have fixed it by now. Even my dog had his fixe 3months ago.

    July 9, 2012 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Snoopz

    Please read carefully, all of you doomsayers. When they busted the Estonian malware thugs, they put up a plain DNS server with the same IP address, but none of the malware, so that they wouldn't precipitate a crisis by taking the fake DNS server offline. They then used every available outlet to let people around the world know that they needed to check their systems. They never intended to keep the plain DNS server online forever.

    There is no conspiracy, so stop looking for one.

    July 9, 2012 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. Snoopz

    I wish of you conspiracy nimrods would just fall asleep in the bathtub.

    July 9, 2012 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
  13. Snoopz

    Nunya – Apple is the only computer manufacturer that makes an operating system, and NO operating system provides spell check – individual applications do that. Nimrod.

    July 9, 2012 at 5:34 am | Report abuse |
    • sevvie7

      Technically, it isn't...HP is a "manufacturer" and has HP-UX for enterprise purposes. Oracle (Sun) makes workstations and Solaris...IBM has various systems to go with their iron and there's many others...Sure, they're all obscure OSes that 99% of people haven't seen or will never see (or even heard of), but Apple is not the only hardware manufacturer that also offers their own OS.

      July 9, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. David Wu

    "DNSChanger rerouted them to fake ad sites"
    Why didn't the FBI just use the "fake ad sites" to inform those infected?
    Something smells fishy here.

    July 9, 2012 at 6:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. Idol Girl

    Well, it's Monday morning in my neck of the woods and my Internet connection seems to be working just fine, both at home and at work.

    July 9, 2012 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
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