The Truth About the FBI Shutdown of the Internet—Hoax?

don't panicIt's not a hoax. To paraphrase Paul Harvey, here's the rest of the story.
 
Just as your residence has a unique numerical street address, websites also have their own unique address on the Internet. That website address is known as the Internet protocol (IP) address. Domain Name System (DNS) is an Internet service that converts domain names into the numerical IP addresses that computers use to talk to each other. When you enter a domain name, such as www.hoaxbusters.org, in your web browser address bar, your computer contacts DNS servers to determine the IP address for the website. Your computer then uses this IP address to locate and connect to the website. DNS servers are operated by your Internet service provider (ISP) and are included in your computer's network configuration. DNS and DNS Servers are a critical component of your computer's operating environment. Without them, you would not be able to access websites, send e-mail, or use any other Internet services.
 
Beginning in 2007, a ring of cyber criminals used a class of malware called DNSChanger to infect approximately 4 million computers in more than 100 countries. There were about 500,000 infections in the U.S., including computers belonging to individuals, businesses, and government agencies such as NASA. The thieves were able to manipulate Internet advertising to generate at least $14 million in illicit fees. In some cases, the malware had the additional effect of preventing users' anti-virus software and operating systems from updating, thereby exposing infected machines to even more malicious software.
 
DNSChanger was used to redirect unsuspecting users to rogue servers controlled by the cyber thieves, allowing them to manipulate users' web activity. When users of infected computers clicked on the link for the official website of iTunes, for example, they were instead taken to a website for a business unaffiliated with Apple Inc. that purported to sell Apple software. Not only did the cyber thieves make money from these schemes, they deprived legitimate website operators and advertisers of substantial revenue.
 
Users of infected computers were unaware that their computers had been compromised, or that the malicious software rendered their machines vulnerable to a host of other viruses. In November of 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested and charged those criminals with running a sophisticated Internet fraud ring that infected millions of computers worldwide with a virus and enabled the thieves to manipulate the multi-billion-dollar Internet advertising industry.
 
As part of their investigation, the FBI uncovered a network of rogue DNS servers and took steps to disable them. The FBI is also undertaking an effort to identify and notify victims who have been impacted by the DNSChanger malware. To assist victims affected by this malicious software, the FBI obtained a court order authorizing the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) to deploy and maintain temporary, clean, DNS servers. At no time will the FBI have access to any data concerning the Internet activity of the victims. It is important to note that the replacement servers will not remove the DNSChanger malware, or any other viruses that it may have facilitated, from infected computers. This solution was only temporary, though, providing time for victims to clean infected computers and restore their normal DNS settings. The court order will expire on July 9, however, and the clean DNS servers will be turned off. Computers still infected by DNSChanger may lose Internet connectivity at that time.
 
To avoid any potential problems, the FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner, The DNS Changer Working Group (DCWG), that will inform them whether they're infected and explain how to fix the problem. DCWG can determine if your computer has been infected with DNSChanger. No software will be downloaded to perform this check. No changes are performed on your computer, and your computer will not be scanned. It's completely safe! There are links to worldwide test sites, as well as links to ISPs that are providing assistance. For your own peace of mind, check your computer.