PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was dubbed the DNS changer, a malicious computer bug developed by cyber criminals in Estonia.
“DNS changer malware was a way for the Estonians to take control of people’s computers,” Kevin Gennuso, an information security expert, said.
Monday, July 9th, was the day hundreds of thousands of computer users thought they might discover that bug or malware on their computer, but the good news was damage was limited.
“It’s about 47,000 computers in the U.S.,” Gennuso said.
DNS, or domain name system, allows your computer to take a name typed in like “Google” and convert it numerically so it can reach the correct site.
“The attackers changed the DNS servers on the infected computers, pointing them to ones that they control,” says Gennuso, “so now when your computer goes to Google, it actually goes to a Google that they own.”
About four million computers were infected originally and the suspects made $14 million before the FBI stepped in to set up a temporary internet server in place of the Estonian one.
At midnight, the FBI shut down that temporary server, putting some at risk.
So what can you do in the future to protect your computer system?
“Block java script and then also don’t run programs from websites that you don’t really know,” Eric Mikulas, an information security expert, said.
And don’t forget those latest software updates.
“It runs in the background and usually the user doesn’t have to touch it, but sometimes you’ll get that bubble that says, ‘Please run the update’ and please run the update,” Gennuso said.