What is DNSChanger?
DNSChanger is a Trojan horse malware with many variants. It changes an infected computer’s DNS settings to point to rogue, bad guy-controlled servers. These then show you ads that look real, but aren’t. Basically, it redirects your legitimate Web surfing to malicious Web sites that then attempt to steal personal information and generate illegitimate ad revenue.
What does DNSChanger do?
DNSChanger changes your Domain Name System settings without your permission. This is bad because DNS is basically the Internet’s phone book crossed with a map. DNS links a URL, such as DigitalLifeCEO.com, to an IP address. (An IPv4 address would be something like 220.127.116.11, while an IPv6 address would look like 1050:0:0:0:5:600:300c:326b.) DNSChanger changes that and redirects search results and URLs to malicious sites that are designed to either serve you ads to malicious sites, or intend to illegitimately collect your login information.
If the bad guys have been caught already, why does DNSChanger still affect people?
Simply put, the malware was exceedingly effective and infected hundreds of thousands of computers. Prior to the bad guys being arrested, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and German Federal Office for Information Security created a redirect of the redirect, so that many people infected by DNSChanger would still go to the legitimate Web sites that they intended to visit.
After the arrests, the two governments agreed to keep the rogue DNS servers running until March. Then they learned that there were still around 450,000 active DNSChanger infections, and so the servers got a reprieve until Monday, July 9.
If your computer’s been infected and you haven’t fixed it by July 8, your Monday morning will be even worse than normal.
So the Facebook alerts and Google warnings about DNSChanger were legit?
Yep. And around 330,000 people were still infected with DNSChanger as of the end of May, with about 77,000 of those in the U.S.
How can I tell if I’m infected?
If you’re in the United States, go to dns-ok.us or its parent site, the DNSChanger Working Group for computers based outside of the U.S. Click on the URL appropriate to your country, and you’ll see an image with a green background if you’re clean. A red background means you’re infected.
Help! My computer’s infected with DNSChanger. How can I fix it?
The DCWG has a list of free tools to download and instructions on how to clean a computer infected with DNSChanger.
How can I avoid malware like DNSChanger in the future?
Security suites aren’t perfect, but they will protect you from the vast majority of threats out there including DNSChanger. Whether you’re on Windows or Mac, Andriod or iOS, you really ought to have some kind of security program installed. And always double-check the URL before entering personal information into any kind of online text field or form, no matter what operating system or device you’re using.
Hey Anderson, any recommend security software?
Sure, first of all no security software can protect your computer if you don’t keep it up-to-date. When you see the update up date available icon, STOP IGNORING IT! If you are looking for some great free security software for your computer. You might want to check AVG internet security or Avast Antivirus which scores high on CNet editors choice.
+Anderson Curry is publisher of Digital Life CEO and Managing Partner at ECS Media Interactive, an Internet marketing agency. Anderson has more than 20 years experience in the technology and marketing industries. He regularly writes and speaks on brand development, social media, technology, and the emergence of the new digital CEO.