Indonesia’s Communications and Information Ministry has dismissed concerns over the “Internet doomsday” that will reportedly take place today, July 9, in relation to an FBI move on a malware attack, saying it was only a rumor.
The ministry said the US agency would indeed shut down some DNS servers on Monday, US time, which were originally put in place to help thousands of users infected with the DNS Changer malware connect to the Internet.
“But at the same time the FBI is also building two new servers to help connect infected users to the Internet,” ministry spokesman Gatot S. Dewa Broto said in a statement published on the ministry’s website, kominfo.go.id, on Sunday night.
“Communications and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring has said that information regarding the Internet doomsday is merely a rumor … We call on the public to carry on with their Internet-related activities as usual, no need to panic, let alone give up Internet-related activities starting on July 9, 2012,” Gatot added.
But he also quoted Tifatul as saying that people should remain alert against malware attacks and thus continually upgrade their computer and Internet security.
“This [security upgrade] can be done by equipping computers with antivirus facilities and regularly cleaning the computers with those facilities.”
The ring behind the DNS Changer virus, discovered in 2007, was shut down last year by the FBI, Estonian police and other law enforcement agencies.
The DNS Changer has allowed cyber thieves to control DNS servers, infecting millions of computers worldwide and forcing “unsuspecting users to fraudulent websites, interfered with their web browsing, and made their computers vulnerable to other kinds of malicious software.”
Six Estonians and a Russian were charged in Estonia in November with infecting computers, including NASA machines, with the malware as part of an online advertising scam that reaped at least $14 million.
Because the virus controlled so much Internet traffic, authorities obtained a court order to allow the FBI to operate replacement servers which allow traffic to flow normally, even from infected computers.
“This solution is temporary, providing additional time for victims to clean affected computers and restore their normal DNS settings. The clean DNS servers will be turned off on July 9, 2012, and computers still impacted by DNSChanger may lose Internet connectivity at that time,” the FBI has announced on its website fbi.gov.
Experts have said the shut down could mean infected computers would face an “Internet doomsday.”
The Indonesian ministry has also suggested users who think they are infected to perform a test at the DNS Changer Working Group’s website http://www.dcwg.org/ or others operated by various security firms.
“If a green light appears, it means the computer is clean. If it’s red, it’s likely infected. It will require some time to clean the computer from the malware, and you need to consult with your ISP,” the ministry said.
With additional reporting from AFP