Dormant virus threatens thousands with internet shutdown on July 9 – security experts warn to scan for infections

You may be infected and not even know it.

Hundreds of thousands of computer users across the world, including several thousand in Australia, may be at risk of losing internet access on Monday due to a computer virus that has lain dormant for years.

Internet groups and government agencies, including Facebook, Google, the Australian Communications and Media Authority and even the FBI, have warned users about the virus that will block internet access for those infected.

But businesses have no reason to fear – security groups say there are only small groups of computers that are still infected. And getting rid of the virus, or the remnants of any malware, is easy enough.

Trend Micro alliances manager Adam Biviano told SmartCompany this morning businesses need to understand this virus won’t so much block internet access, as it will point to a server that will be shut down on July 9.

As a result, computers having been infected with the virus may still be routed to that server and when it shuts down, they’ll be left without access.

“It’s not so much that the malware will trigger and cause any sort of mass damage on that date, it’s just that if you are infected, then your computer will be pointing towards a DNS server that isn’t going to be active anymore.”

“That’s all that’s going to happen on the 9th if your computer still has the incorrect settings.

The FBI has issued a statement saying more than 252,000 computers still harbour the virus, despite the break-up of the group spreading the software last year. But there are a few things businesses can do.

ACMA has set up a website where you can check if your DNS settings are correct.

Biviano says while the remnants of this malware won’t cause any permanent damage, it serves as a reminder why businesses should continue checking for any harmful software on their networks.

“Just take some proactive steps to clean out your PCs with antivirus software. You also need to make sure this software is up to date.”

“If you do end up in a situation where Monday comes and you find your internet is disrupted, you’ll need to contact your computer supplier or your IT department to make sure they can correct it. Or, if you have the technical skills, just make sure you’re pointing towards the right server.”

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