DNS Changer (re)lived, new deadline: 9 July 2012!

As written in our “Password management for non-obvious accounts” blog post on February 22, the FBI confiscated the DNS Servers used by the DNS Changer malware and replaced them with different servers so that infected users would not be left without internet right away. Initially these replacement DNS Servers were to be taken offline on March 7, 2012. That meant any users who had not yet cleaned their systems and restored their DNS configuration would find themselves unable to use the internet.

All internet users were urged to check and clean their systems before March 7. However, due to the large number of affected systems and the unprecendent amount of effort involved, a federal judge in New York has ordered that the replacement DNS Servers not be taken offline before 9 July 2012. This may seem like good news but in reality it means that too many systems are still affected and dismantling the replacement DNS Severs would cause havoc.

One way to check if your system is affected by this DNS Changer malware is to use a free DNS check that several websites offer. If you rely (or have relied) on these websites, please be aware that some websites may be tampered with or malicious and give you the wrong advice. To be sure you use legitimate websites that offer this feature, ESET has verified that this US-website and this European-website have the proper checks and give sound advice.

Another good way to check if your Windows system is affected by any variant of the DNS Changer malware or any type of other malware is to use the free ESET Online Scanner. ESET’s Online Scanner for Windows employs ThreatSense scanning technology and is updated several times a day with detection and automatic remediation of newly discovered threats.

If you are using a Mac, then you can scan your system and remove malware like DNS Changer with a free trial version of ESET Cybersecurity for Mac.

Please be aware that if your system is still affected by DNS Changer come 9 July you may not be able to use the internet any longer. When that happens, especially for less technical people, it may be problematic to clean your system manually. A quick online scan takes just a short time and can prevent you and your system suffering further complications that could be awkward to resolve.

Righard Zwienenberg
Senior Research Fellow

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