Just in Case - Don't forget to Back Up Your Data
There are and have been so many viruses, malware, spyware, rogue security infections and so on we could never begin to count them all. I once cleaned a computer that had over 2,000 infections!!! My advice to the owner was simple. It was time to reinstall Windows and get a fresh start.
Don't let anyone tell you you're foolish or paranoid because you're concerned about your computer becoming infected by some scumbag trying to make money off of honest people. It happens every day and its a big industry. You might call it the dirty underbelly of the Internet. Fortunately, we have some safeguards we can use to protect our computers from any permanent damage these anomalies might bring for us to bear.
First and foremost, if you have data which you consider important you MUST BACK IT UP. The hardware to backup your data is far too inexpensive not to have it. Most important data can be backed up on 1 or 2 DVD disks if you have a DVD burner. If not, a simple 8GB Flash drive could do the job as well. Your pictures, your documents and your music are the items most frequently backed up. However, I always recommend that my customers use the features provided by Windows to back up an image of their system as well as the data on an external hard drive. The Windows Backup feature also allows you to use DVDs or CDs to accomplish this task.
Once you data is backed up, you can rest assured that whatever happens, your data is safe. Next, you should always make sure your Windows Firewall is turned on. If it isn't, Windows will remind you frequently that you have a security problem and take you to where you need to go to fix it.
You should also keep an updated version of some sort of Internet Security running. I usually recommend AVG or Norton Internet Security. These programs will keep watch for you and usually catch any unscrupulous activity before it can do any damage to your system. Remember - the best time to guard against security threats to your computer is before you have a problem. Solving these issues after a computer is infected can range from really easy to extremely complex.
As far as the information I've read leading up to my post here, I'm going to repeat what I just said. Back up your data and keep your computer secure BEFORE these type of issues develop. If you want to check to see if your computer is using one of these Rogue DNS Servers, you should review the PDF document provided by the FBI that addresses this issue specifically. This is the correct URL:
This is a legitimate website. I have reviewed all of the information on this site and it is accurate. If you don't feel comfortable trying to do this on your own, you should seek the assistance of a professional like me who removes viruses and malware for a living. Because of the attention this malware has raised, most computer shops should readily be able to quickly determine if your computer is infected.
But Wait!!! There's More.
This particular malware was also designed to attack your ROUTER!!! According to the information available, the malware attempts to access these devices using common default usernames and passwords and, if successful, changes the DNS servers these devices use from the ISP's good DNS servers to rogue DNS servers now being operated by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team. This is a change that may impact all computers on the SOHO network, even if those computers are not infected with the malware.
Therefore, if you never changed your log in information for your router from the standard (usually Admin & Password), you should do it soon. Check your IP Configuraiton to find the numerical address for your router, log on, and change the ubiquitous Admin Username and Password: Password to something more sensible. This should provide a more defensible posture for your router to fight off these kind of attacks.
By the way, the FBI also recommends you back up your data. Where have I heard that before???
I realize that we all want our computing experiences to be safe, secure, and most of all EASY. Unfortunately, as long as there is a way for people to make money by exploiting our internet activities, we'll need to spend a little extra time to make sure we're protected from catastrophic data loss.
Best of Luck Barbara