An attendee uses a Google Nexus 7 tablet during Google I/O 2012 Conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, California June 27, 2012.
Credits: REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Thousands of Canadians could be among the hundreds of thousands of people around the world who might lose Internet access on July 9.
That's the day the FBI will shut down all the "clean servers" it set up to combat a massive hacking operation. In November, the agency says it busted a group of cyber criminals in Estonia who had successfully downloaded malware onto an estimated four million computers in more than 100 countries. "DNS Changer" would turn off virus updates and send consumers to fraudulent websites.
In its indictment, the FBI estimated the gang made at least $14 million in "ill-gotten gains" through what it called click hijacking and advertisement replacement fraud.
Instead of shutting down the rogue servers, the FBI replaced the servers with "clean" ones and redirected users, who were generally none the wiser.
The replacement servers are being shut down Monday, and anyone still infected with the malware will lose their Internet access.
The FBI said there are still about 360,000 infected computers in a dozen countries, including Canada - but there is a fix. The DNS Changer Working Group (dcwg.org), established by American government agencies, can detect the malware and provide steps to eliminate it. Canadians can also visit the Canadian Internet Registration Authority's anti-DNS website at dns-ok.ca.