Wouldn’t you know it? With all the news about the world coming to an end, we can’t even agree on a date. 2012 is a year that has seemingly tied up all of humanity’s loose strings. In case you’ve been living off-world, or refuse to watch anything with John Cusack in it, December 21, 2012 is the de facto end of the Mayan calendar, a happenstance the crazies have cobbled into a reason to believe that the world is going to end on that date. Now, as it turns out, even the scientists can’t agree exactly when the Mayans have scheduled the earth for the wrecking ball; but, as the winter solstice draws ever closer, a doomsday of another type looms, and this one’s jumped the line on the Mayans by about six months.
Coming on July 9, “Internet Doomsday”, as it’s been dubbed by the media, is the day when countless Internet users will be disconnected from the lifeblood they so desperately need to friend people, like (but not unlike) things, make deep and lasting statements in 140 characters or less, tend to virtual farm animals, fire angry birds at things (question: why are they angry? One might presume it’s because we fire them at things, but you have to remember that they were angry before that) and generally get their fill of free porn, dubious accounts of movie stars, and as many uncorroborated facts as people care to digest. Simply put, Internet Doomsday is the day when the ultimate payload of a five year-old Trojan comes crashing down.
The case of DNSChanger came to a satisfying end last November when the FBI, in partnership with law enforcement agencies that included cops in Estonia, carried out a bust dubbed Operation Ghost Click, only the coolest nickname for a criminal operation, like, ever. DNSChanger, which has been around since 2007, spread itself widely through spam e-mail, while infecting millions of computers and netting the spammers untold riches in advertising revenues. Basically, when it delivers its payload, DNSChanger modifies the DNS settings of the infected system so that legitimate URLs are redirected to malicious sites designed to steal information and earn ad revenues for the scam artists.
Operation Ghost Click saw two data centers and hundreds of C&C servers in the U.S. shut down on November 8, while six Estonian scumbags were carted off in handcuffs; but the hard work of law enforcement continued long after the bust. The FBI had to put something in the place of DNSChanger’s servers – a legitimate redirect service so that infected systems could continue to operate. As indicated on GFI Labs, July 9th is the date when law enforcement pulls the plug on the clean DNS servers. After that, users who weren’t aware that they were infected – and there will be many – will have to deal with the unfortunate reality of virtual crops wilting away, and they will have to figure out why the Internet connection thingy ain’t working so good no more.
That’s why the FBI and other agencies have put the word out. The hope is that people will learn of the impending doom on July 9th and have their systems checked.
To learn more, head on over to the FBI’s site. You should direct as many users as you can to that site and to the DCWG’s site (http://www.dcwg.org/detect/), where you can choose a URL from the provided list to determine if your DNS is being routed properly. There’s even a section that lets you manually check your system for infection. If no infection has been detected, users can promptly get back to liking things and firing angry birds at them. If, however, a user’s system is having its DNS re-routed, then users should follow the advice at DCWG’s site, or contact their ISP right away.
It is not recommended that users write 140 character diatribes lamenting that their world is about to end on July 9th. Tell them to write about something happy, like Brangelina and those six lucky kids. Me, I’m still trying to get them to adopt me.