On March 8th, you might notice that you’re having some … extraordinary challenges getting to your favorite online destinations. Here’s why …
The Federal Bureau of Investigation may yank several crucial domain name servers (DNS) offline on March 8, blocking millions from using the Internet. The servers in the FBI’s crosshairs were installed in 2011 to deal with a nasty worm dubbed DNSChanger Trojan. DNSChanger can get an innocent end-user in trouble; it changes an infected system’s DNS settings to shunt Web traffic to unwanted and possibly even illegal sites.
DNSChanger oozed out of Estonia and may have fouled up as many as a half-million computers in the United States. The feds’ temporary fix to keep the worm from propagating was to replace infected servers with clean surrogates.
Coordinating with the Estonian authorities who arrested those believed responsible for the worm, the FBI set up what amounted to a Maginot Line of temporary servers that would to give businesses and private individuals affected by DNSChanger time to cleanse infected systems.
Now, a paranoid sort of person might think that los federales are doing something more sinister … beta testing the kind of kill switch the sort of thing they did in Egypt … but that’d be preposterous, right?