Infected PC computers around the globe could permanently lose Internet access this summer due to a widespread virus that has silently taken hold of more than 570,000 computers.
International hackers started an advertising scam that pulled people to their fake websites where they unknowingly became subjects to the hackers’ control. Their computers were reprogrammed to be owned by the rogue software referred to as the DNSChanger virus.
While the FBI was able to shut down the hacker ring and set up a safety net to keep infected users from collapsing, this program is scheduled to be shut down. The program was originally supposed to be shut down in March, but an extension was given to allow more people to clean their servers of this virus before July 9.
Johann Taylor, a former mechanical engineering student at BYU, works for CompuClinic, a computer repair shop in Provo. He knows firsthand the damage that a virus can do to a computer.
“I would estimate that 35 to 40 percent of our jobs are virus removals,” Taylor said. “It takes around 15 to 20 minutes to do a removal, but upwards of an hour to repair the damage that was done. We are familiar with the DNSChanger virus, but it’s hard to tell if we’ve worked on that particular one. We focus on ridding the virus rather than identifying it. But I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the computers we’ve seen have been infected by it.”
Pre-accounting major Andrea Merrill, has experience with PC viruses and advice to those who are deciding between buying a new Mac or PC.
“Our desktop at home is a PC as well as my personal laptop,” Merrill said. “Our desktop at home had a virus and we lost a lot of information. My laptop has had a lot of problems too, and I’m currently planning on getting a Mac. PC’s just have too many physical problems and aren’t durable. I would much rather have a Mac.”
While it’s clear that Mac’s have a better reputation for their stability, a virus directed towards Macintosh recently hit hundreds of thousands of users, causing Apple to scramble to clean up the mess. With this glitch now on the company’s record, their loyal followers now have a choice to keep continued faith or reconsider what they thought was a safe bet.
Elsie Wong, a recent graduate from BYU’s nursing program, has used her Mac book throughout her four years of rigorous schooling.
“I think Apple does a good job with keeping their computers safe,” Wong said. “I haven’t heard too much about that Mac virus but if I had it, I would just go to the Apple store and have them take care of it. It wouldn’t sway me to buy a PC. I’ll always stay loyal.”
Visit www.dcwg.org to see if your computer is infected by the DNSChanger virus and receive information on how to get rid of it.