… turns out piracy sites are a real and present danger to the Internet. Many computer users began this week wondering whether they would be able to access the Internet due to the so-called “Doomsday virus.” Over the weekend users were reminded to check and reset their DNS server settings by using government-supported diagnostic sites because the FBI was about to stop maintaining temporary servers which it had set up to properly direct traffic from computers infected with the DNS Changer malware. Many reports indicated that users of infected computers who had not taken the necessary steps to modify their DNS settings would not be able to access the internet.
While a great deal of media reports focused on how to determine if your computer has been infected by the virus, and what to do if that is the case, there was very little focus on how the virus was spread in the first place. As it turns out, it appears that the ”Doomsday virus,” and its many million dollars worth of harm, was spread through rogue sites offering illegal downloads of copyrighted content. The 2011 FBI indictment of the criminal ring operating the malware states:
“Victims’ computers became infected with the Malware when they visited certain websites or downloaded certain software to view videos online. The Malware altered the DNS server settings on victims’ computers to route the infected computers to rogue DNS servers controlled and operated by the defendants and their co-conspirators.”
It really should not come as a surprise that criminal enterprises that have no respect for one type of law also have no respect for another – or for the safety and security of their users, but it is another example of the very real harm that can be spread by rogue sites. Read more about it here.