DNSChanger: not a bang, but a whimper

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Michelle Starr is the tiger force at the core of all things. She also writes about cool stuff and apps as CNET Australia's Crave editor. But mostly the tiger force thing.

The FBI shut down DNSChanger servers overnight; but, far from the expected mass outage, the event was quietly anticlimactic.

(Credit: http://dns-ok.us/)

Much like Y2K, the build-up left quite a few of those concerned feeling a little deflated — including Johannes Ullrich, chief research officer at the SysAdmin, Audit, Networking and Security (SANS) Institute. In regards to someone losing internet access, "We haven't seen a single report", Ullrich told CNET's Elinor Mills. "It's all hype. There's really nothing happening."

The top 20 countries infected, showing the number of computers, over the weekend.
(Credit: F-Secure)

But Trend Micro VP Tom Kellerman disagrees, saying that the fact that nothing went wrong was due to a strong awareness effort that informed consumers, so that they could clean their computers of the malware before the shutdown.

Kellerman said in a podcast (MP3 link):

The preventative efforts of the FBI, security companies and ISPs were successful in limiting the contagion and the effects of this server shutdown that would have originally impacted millions of people.

According to the FBI, approximately four million computers were infected globally — a number that was down to around 211,000 by the time the servers were cut off, FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer told CNET.

At the end, the quiet result is the best possible outcome — the process seems to have gone as smoothly as possible, with very few outages.

"The FBI is out — and ISPs are in," said antivirus company F-Secure in a blog post. "All in all, things are working out as they probably should in a case such as this. The infection count continues to decrease without a major crisis in support calls."

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