February 20, 2012, 7:11 AM —
Heard the one about the FBI shutting down the Internet next month?
Like many memes before it, this dire warning is floating around blogs and sites. It even names a date: March 8 as the day the FBI might "shut down the Internet." But relax, that's not really the case.
While yes, an untold number of people may lose their Internet connection in less than three weeks, if they do they only have nefarious web criminals to blame and certainly not the FBI.
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If people end up in the dark on March 8 it's because they're still infected with the malware the FBI started warning people about last November when it shut down a long-standing Estonian Web traffic hijacking operation that controlled people's computers using a family of DNSChanger viruses. The malware works by replacing the DNS (Domain Name System) servers defined on a victim's computer with fraudulent servers operated by the criminals. As a result, visitors are unknowingly redirected to websites that distributed fraudulent software or displayed ads that put money into the bad guys' pockets.
Here's the worst part: The malware also prevents security updates and disables installed security software.