Thousands face internet loss in FBI server shut down
Over 300,000 people, including many in the UK and the US, may have lost their internet connections today as the FBI shut down servers used by a gang to spread a virus amongst as many as four million victims.
The servers were seized by the FBI in November 2011 in order to halt the virus, which ran internet users’ searches through the DNS Changer virus – and in turn through the seized servers – which led to consumers seeing particular adverts and to the gang who created the virus being paid vast amounts of money. Charges were brought against the gang, based in Estonia, who made over £9million from the scam.
Since the servers were seized, they have been kept running in order that the victims of the virus can be alerted to the problem, but the servers were switched off when the court ruling permitting that the servers continue to be run expired at midnight on Sunday.
Some computer users who were unaware that their computers were affected may find themselves without internet access, as computers will be unable to go to certain web addresses without going through the DNS changer, which is no longer in use.
The FBI and many internet experts have denied that there have been any problems at all. Barry Greene, a computer security consultant, said: “The most we’ve had is press calls. We haven’t had the internet fall down.”
Security researcher Sean Sullivan has said that he believes that it will take some time for problems to become apparent. He explained how the problems might manifest themselves, saying: “Initially some domains will be cached, which will mean web access will be spotty. People will be confused about why some things work and some do not.”
Researchers have said that some computers will continue to harbour the virus indefinitely, due to the difficult nature of tracking down those affected.