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Internet going dark on March 8th? Not likely.

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Submitted by Tim Roper on Thursday, March 08, 2012

There’s been much speculation and rumor-mongering about an event happening on March 8th, 2012, that might knock “millions” of users off the Internet. Alarmists claim “the FBI plans to shut down the Internet” on that day. While we don’t normally comment on every virus/malware/Mayan-apocalypse rumor that pops up on the Internet, this one actually contains a smidgen of truth, though the actual cause and probability of damage are grossly misrepresented.

From PC World:

“If people end up in the dark on March 8, it’s because they’re still infected with the malware the FBI started warning people about last November when it shut down a long-standing Estonian Web traffic hijacking operation that controlled people’s computers using a family of DNSChanger viruses. The malware works by replacing the DNS (Domain Name System) servers defined on a victim’s computer with fraudulent servers operated by the criminals[…]

“To help protect victims, the FBI replaced the rogue servers with legitimate ones — a measure the agency said would be in effect for 120 days. Had it not taken that step and simply shut down the bad servers back in November, infected computers would have been immediately blocked from Internet access.”

So, in reality, when the FBI does shut down its temporary stand-in servers, the only people who may lose their Internet access are individuals or businesses who still have not removed the offending malware—a plausible situation, since one of the virus’s attributes is that it blocks anti-virus programs from downloading security updates.

To see if your machine is infected, consider contacting CMIT Solutions for a free assessment.

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