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Updated: March 8, 2012 12:12 IST

Internet doomsday averted

K. Srinivas Reddy
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‘Good DNS servers' to continue operating till July 9

It's not gonna to be an internet doomsday today!

The glad tidings came in the wake of an order from a judge in New York who asked US authorities to continue operating ‘good DNS servers' till July 9. These ‘good DNS servers' had been literally providing a life-support system for millions of computers infected with a malicious programme named ‘DNSChanger'.

The DNSChanger directs the affected computer to tap into fraudulent servers and directs the computer users to unintended websites. This malicious software was designed by six cyber criminals from Estonia, who hosted ‘rogue DNS servers' which forced the affected computers to new malwares and phishing websites or simply resort to ‘clickjacking' – making computers automatically visit websites to increase their number of hits.

When the US authorities detected the cyber fraud in an operation codenamed ‘Operation Ghost Click', the FBI took charge of these ‘rogue DNS servers' and replaced them with ‘good DNS servers' because shutting down the rogue servers would mean that the affected computers would not be able to visit any website or use any internet services. These good servers were to be shut down by March 8, 2012 by which time computer owners and companies were expected to cleanse their computer systems. As many computers continued to be afflicted with the DNSChanger even as the deadline neared, apprehensions were aired about the affected computers not being functional anymore.

And now this date has been extended by another four months.

Cyber specialists estimate that tens of thousands of computers have been affected in India too and most computer owners are not aware of the malicious programme that has been installed in their computers. All that the affected computer owners have to do is to cleanse their system with a good anti-virus software and periodically check whether the machines are infected with DNSChanger.

“We still have many systems affected with DNSChanger, though it is difficult to quantify the numbers,” concedes Kusumba S., CTO of Beam Telecom. The solution, Mr. Kusumba points out, is to install the latest anti-virus software and clean the system. “Beam telecom has offered Norton Anti-Virus free of cost to its customers for this purpose,” he said.

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