British PC users face 'internet doomsday' as FBI shuts off servers
Hundreds of thousands may have been affected by the FBI's battle against computer crime
Ellen E Jones
Ellen is The Independent's TV critic. She writes a daily review of Last Night's TV and a weekly 'Inside TV' column for the i paper, as well as a column on general topics for the main paper most Wednesdays. Ellen is a former Hollywood correspondent and a contributing editor to Little White Lies, she's written on TV, film, lifestyle, travel and politics for publications including the Guardian, The Times, The Sunday Times, Esquire and Total Film.
Monday 09 July 2012
More than 250,000 people, including many in the UK, may have been affected, after the FBI shut down servers today as part of their fight against computer crime.
In November 2011 the FBI brought charges against an Estonia-based gang who used a malware known as "DNS Changer" to net more than £9m. The virus hijacked web searches, forcing victims to see certain adverts.
The FBI had delayed shutting down the servers until today to allow time for victims to disinfect their computers. Millions of users have since been alerted, but it is feared that around 250,000 unaware victims worldwide will have lost internet access when the FBI shut down the servers at 00.00 EDT (5am GMT) this morning.
The FBI arranged for a private company to run a website, http://www.dcwg.org, which PC users could visit to instantly check if their computer has been infected. By now it's too late for those who have already lost access. They will have to rely on telephone helplines set up by internet service providers.
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