Sunday, July 8, 2012

The internet will die tomorrow!

The internet will die tomorrow! (Monday July 9, 2012)

Maybe. But not likely for you. For 0.02%(1) (that’s 1 in 5,000) users in the world. Only 27%(2) of the total are in the US and since the US has a high percentage of users; your chances are even lower.

What happened?

A few years ago some bad guys infected some users and changed their DNS settings. The DNS system tells your internet connections where to go when you type an address such as “” in your browser. Rather than using the master DNS servers, an infected computer gets its directions from the bad guys’ servers. When you typed “” (or any normal address), they would actually send you to Google. However, when Google sent your browser back to pick up an ad, they would insert the destination to their own ads so they made money.

Pretty soon the global police forces found the bad guys and took over their system. But they realized if they shut it down cold no one who was infected would get to Google when they typed “” So … our FBI has, for several years, paid a private company to run the bad guys’ servers and to serve up correct information.

Why will the internet die?

Now the FBI has stopped paying this bill and 250,000 computers won’t be able to find Google, or any other named domain, until they fix their settings.

Am I infected?

Probably not. See the first paragraph above.

A site that will give you a quick “yes” or “no” is at, but with some caveats. The FBI also has a 6-page .pdf(3) explaining how to check your own DNS settings. It’s tedious, but detailed enough that anyone reading this can follow. It also points out that your computer can have an apparent safe setting while your router is infected.


(1) – Article on Time Techland.
The best non-tech explanation I saw.

(2) – Infection count by country, as of 6/11/12

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