by Melissa Brunner
Just a few seconds could save you a big headache Monday morning.
The government is warning about a malware virus that could knock tens of thousands of people offline come Monday morning. The story is that hackers launched a virus more than a year ago that would redirect users to different web sites, racking up millions of dollars in illegal fees. The FBI broke up the ring but, if they simply shut down the hackers' servers, all the infected computers would have their internet connections cut. So instead, the government set up alternate servers to take control of the infected computers, allowing them to function normally while they spread the word for people to check their computers and wipe the virus clean if needed.
Of course, it takes a while for word to spread and many of us are prone to procrastination anyway. While we surfed along, oblivious to what was happening, time was ticking. Monday, those temporary servers will shut down. If you haven't checked your computer, and it's one of the estimated 40,000 to 64,000 computers in the U.S. still infected, you won't be able to connect to the internet.
The good news is the FBI set up a special web site. Log on and it will take you literally seconds to see if your computer is infected. It's www.dcwg.org. It does the check to see if your computer is infected. If it is, it will take you through steps to fix it. I just did it with my computer here at work and I'm in the clear. I'll be checking my home computer, too.
I admit I hadn't heard about this potential problem before now, either. That's why I'm trying to help pass the word. Chances are your computer is clear, but, if it's not, the few seconds it takes to check will be well worth it.