As many as 64,000 Americans' computers may still be infected by malware that will cause them to lose Internet service Monday, so make sure you aren't among those affected if you haven't already.
The problem is a result of a large online advertising scam that took over more than 4 million computers around the world. When the FBI went in to shut down the scheme, the agency realized that turning off the malicious servers would cause infected computers to lose access to the Internet. So the FBI set up two other servers, which have been connecting infected users to the Internet, but they will be shut down at 12:01 a.m. EDT Monday.
There are various ways to test your computer for the so-called DNS Changer Malware. But remember, this applies only to Windows users, so if you have an Apple computer, you're fine.
If you want to go the most official route possible, head to the FBI's site, http://bit.ly/FBI-checker. With the FBI, you know you're dealing with the most trusted source on this matter — it's the agency that caught the people who began this madness — but its method of checking is also a bit time-consuming.
If you want something simpler, you can also check your computer at http://www.dns-ok.us. The FBI links to this site, so you know it's trustworthy too. If your computer is clean, you'll get a big green image. If it's not, you'll get a red screen. The only issue with that site is that sometimes it doesn't work. I've tried it three times on two computers, but it worked only once.
If you need to try another site, McAfee has set up a site too: http://bit.ly/Mcafee-checker. It seems to work, and it's simple. If you're all clear, McAfee will even congratulate you.
Qualys also has a checker set up. You can head over there, http://bit.ly/qualys-checker, and it will check for the DNS Changer Malware and any other issues that you may want to get fixed on your computer.
Google and Facebook have also been notifying users if their computers are infected, so if you haven't logged on to either site in a while, that may be a quick, simple and certain way of checking for the malware.
If you are affected, fixing the issue could take a little bit of time.
Stan Stahl, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Information Systems Security Assn., said in a note that affected users should back up their important data, reformat their hard drive and reinstall the operating system and applications afterward.
Also, if your computer is affected, make sure to call your Internet provider and have it help you get your DNS changed. And if your computer has been infected, the smartest thing to do is change the passwords for all your websites and applications. This can take an hour or two, but changing your passwords from time to time is a recommended thing to do anyway.
So make sure to check your computer and make sure that your friends and loved ones do too. As PC World points out, if you don't check your computer and can't get on Facebook on Monday, you can only blame yourself.