Why You Did or Didn't Lose Internet Connection on Malware MondaThe most recent internet scare was that on Monday, July 9, thousands upon thousands of people were going to lose internet service because their computers were infected with DNS Changer malware. But, “Malware Monday” has passed and many people are wondering why it didn’t seem to have nearly the anticipated effect.

So, why didn’t Malware Monday live up to the hype? Was there ever a real threat to begin with? And, what the heck is a DNS Changer?! Read on for the answers to all of your Malware Monday questions.

What is DNS Changer?

DNS (Domain Name System) Changer is a Trojan created by the Estonian company Rove Digital that infected computers from 2007 to 2011. The DNS Changer redirected computers’ Domain Name System to lead them to fraudulent malicious sites. For example, if you were to search for “rat traps,” you would be linked to several fake pest control sites with fake advertisements. Rove Digital was reported to have made 14 million dollars through this fraudulent advertising system and to have infected over 4 million computers.

The DNS Changer spread by claiming to be a download needed to view videos on certain websites, often pornography. Once the Trojan was downloaded, it could then reconfigure the DNS. The Trojan could also spread within local area networks (LAN) as a fake server.

Why Would You Lose Internet Connection?

The FBI pressed charges against the people behind the DNS Changer in 2011 and they were arrested, giving the FBI control of the DNS Changer malware. But, because so many computers were still infected, they did not want to shut down the Trojan completely. A temporary court order allowed them to run replacement servers to process DNS requests for the infected computers. The court order was supposed to end in March of this year, but still too many people would have lost internet connection.

The final date to cut off the replacement servers was July 9, 2012, which was coined “Malware Monday.” On this day, the FBI finally shut down the replacement servers and as a result, any computer that was still infected lost internet connection.

Why Didn’t Many People Lose Connection?

On July 4, it was estimated that at least 300,000 computers were still infected. This is the reason behind the massive hype. The FBI informed internet providers about all of the computers that were infected, and the internet providers made tremendous efforts to keep their users from losing service. Letters, emails, telephone calls, and even pop-ups were used to make infected users aware of the situation.

Google and Facebook also warned people about Malware Monday, and several articles, blogs, and news reports really got the word around. “DNS-ok.us” also made it possible for people to easily check to see if their computers were infected.

As a result, the hype seems to be what protected us from a major internet outage. The DNS Changer was shut down successfully without a major impact on internet users.

By guest blogger Michelle who writes about a variety of topics, from technology news to rat traps.