A Warning For Every Computer-Using Genealogist

I thought this article was worth sharing with every one of you. Since most genealogists today are avid computer users, especially using the Internet for research, this article may be as important as any other we feature here. The article describes in fairly plain language a viral infection affecting hundreds of thousands of computers. Only through the efforts of the Feds have many people not had their Internet access stopped already. However, that may change soon for anyone with an affected computer who does not take steps to fix the problem now.

Fortunately, the article links to a website where anyone can go and have their computers checked for this particular virus. Note: here is the link you need to follow to check your system: http://www.dcwg.org/

Be sure to read the full article and then follow the link if you are concerned about your machine. The Associated Press article was posted on KSL.com:

Hundreds of thousands may lose Internet in July

By Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) – For computer users, a few mouse clicks could mean the difference between staying online and losing Internet connections this summer.

Unknown to most of them, their problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of infected computers around the world. In a highly unusual response, the FBI set up a safety net months ago using government computers to prevent Internet disruptions for those infected users. But that system is to be shut down.

The FBI is encouraging users to visit a website run by its security partner, that will inform them whether they’re infected and explain how to fix the problem. After July 9, infected users won’t be able to connect to the Internet.

Most victims don’t even know their computers have been infected, although the malicious software probably has slowed their web surfing and disabled their antivirus software, making their machines more vulnerable to other problems.

Last November, the FBI and other authorities were preparing to take down a hacker ring that had been running an Internet ad scam on a massive network of infected computers.

“We started to realize that we might have a little bit of a problem on our hands because … if we just pulled the plug on their criminal infrastructure and threw everybody in jail, the victims of this were going to be without Internet service,” said Tom Grasso, an FBI supervisory special agent. “The average user would open up Internet Explorer and get `page not found’ and think the Internet is broken.”

Click here to read the full article.