Internet users need to do run a security scan on their computers ASAP. A malware that may have infected computers over a year ago could cause tens of thousands of Americans to lose internet service according to Yahoo! News.
The warning is so serious that popular social networking sites like Facebook have posted warnings. Google has also been alerting users and the FBI has created a special website with information on the malware.
Many people don’t know their computer has been infected. Some warning signs that they may be a victim are slower web speeds and antivirus software disabled. According to the FBI, the number of computers that probably are infected is more than 277,000 worldwide, down from about 360,000 in April. Of those still infected, the FBI believes that about 64,000 are in the United States.
The threat is so serious the FBI has used a private company to install two clean servers as a safety net. If the malware takes over their system, the two clean servers will be used to prevent the loss of their Internet.
Infected computers that haven’t been scanned will cause owners headaches. The malware will cause users to lose the ability to use the internet. People will have to call their internet provider to help get rid of the malware and then reconnecting their service.
According to Yahoo! News, the problem began with an online advertising scam run by international hackers. The hackers were able to “take control of more than 570,000 infected computers around the world. When the FBI went in to take down the hackers late last year, agents realized that if they turned off the malicious servers being used to control the computers, all the victims would lose their Internet service.”
Individual computer owners aren’t the only ones at risk. Businesses can also be infected. To check whether your computer has been infected by the malware, you can visit a website http://www.dcwg.org. The site is run by the same company the FBI is using for their backup servers. The site also provides links to trusted commercial sites that will run a quick check on the computer, and it also gives you detailed instructions on how to check the computer yourself.