Around 6000 Australians are set to lose their internet access from Monday because of a virus planted by criminals during the past year, the communications watchdog says.
Australians affected by the DNSChanger malicious software (malware) will have no internet from 1400 AEST on July 9 as a temporary solution switches off, the Australian Communications and Media Authority told AAP on Friday.
DNSChanger is a form of malicious software (malware) that changes a user's domain name system (DNS) settings.
This allows criminals to direct internet users to fraudulent websites and hinder their access to the internet.
In November 2011, the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US closed a ring of cyber-criminals believed to be behind the spread of the DNSChanger malware across the world.
The FBI along with the internet systems consortium set up a temporary but correct DNS solution, while internet service providers had the chance to help their customers to fix the problem.
Australians can go to http://dns-ok.gov.au/ to check if their computer is affected.
The problem could affect millions of internet users worldwide.
Warnings have been widely circulated through Facebook and Google.
The FBI says that 277,000 computers worldwide could still be infected.
People whose computers are still infected by Monday will lose their ability to go online and will have to call their service providers for help to delete the malware and reconnect.
Most victims don't even know their computers have been infected, although the malicious software probably has slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems.
FBI agent Tom Grasso said many internet providers have plans to try to help their customers.
If the internet providers correct the server problem, the internet will work, but the malware will remain on victims' computers and could pose future problems.
Facebook and Google created their own warning messages that determined if a computer was infected.
Facebook users would get a message that says, “Your computer or network might be infected,” along with a link that users can click for more information.
Google users got a similar message, displayed at the top of a Google search results page. It also provides information on correcting the problem.The site includes links to respected commercial sites that will run a quick check on the computer, and it also lays out detailed instructions if users want to actually check the computer themselves.
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