Will I lose Internet service after July 2012?

News articles are warning that many people could lose Internet access after July. The news alert is genuine and applies to users of Windows or OS X systems that have become infected with the "DNSChanger" malware, which alters the way infected computers use Domain Name Services (DNS).

DNS permits computers to navigate the Internet by translating site names (e.g., www.ucdavis.edu) into their numerical IP (Internet protocol) addresses.

The malware redirects infected computers to use fraudulent DNS servers. Following the criminal investigation and related arrests, the federal government opted to continue running the now clean but still rogue DNS servers until July 9, 2012. Computers still configured to use these DNS servers after July 9 will suffer Internet connectivity problems. It is estimated that up to 500,000 computers in the United States might be infected with the DNSChanger malware.

What to do? First, determine if your computer is infected. The FBI has released background information and instructions for detecting if your computer is infected. The second step is to remove the malware. DNSChanger malware removal tools can be found at major anti-virus vendors, such as McAfee, Microsoft, Sophos and Symantec.

For more information, refer to your campus unit technical representative coordinator (see directory), or contact IT Express at ithelp@ucdavis.edu or (530) 754-HELP. You can also read more in these reports by PC Magazine, The Associated Press, and Time.