A recent release from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has alerted individuals and businesses about an online threat that could affect thousands of unsuspecting victims.
Known as the DNSChanger, the malware interrupts the usual lookup activities performed by the computer when searching for an IP address associated with a particular URL.
As the ACMA explains it: "DNSChanger is a class of malicious software (malware) that changes a user's Domain Name System settings, enabling criminals to direct unsuspecting internet users to fraudulent websites and otherwise interfere with their web browsing."
The FBI has announced its plans to pull the plug on a set of DNS servers that where initially set up to redirect a user's infected browser to a site of the controller's choosing – setting the date of July 9.
When the servers are taken offline, the affected computers will be unable to access the service that converts URLs into actual websites – meaning that users would be forced to enter IP addresses manually.
In conjunction with the Australian government's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), the ACMA has launched the DNSChanger Diagnostic website – dns-ok.gov.au – to allow users to perform a quick security audit of their system.
If it is found to be infected, the site provides advice, documentation and online tools to assist the user in removing the malware.