[LINK] Web meltdown a non-event
brd at iimetro.com.au
Mon Jul 9 17:14:59 AEST 2012
Web meltdown a non-event
July 09, 2012 4:34PM
Australian ISPs appear to have contained the impact of a computer virus
that was expected to cause internet blackouts for thousands of customers
earlier this afternoon. The blackout was expected to hit around 7500
infected computers in Australian just after 2pm AEST when FBI-operated
servers keeping them online were switched off.
However, the chaos anticipated at ISP service desks hasn't manifested
and, at worst, the switch-off appears to have caused little more than
modest increases in calls to ISPs.
iiNet chief technical officer John Lindsay said that just after 2pm he
was alerted to a modest increase in waiting times on the ISPs customer
help line. "That would suggest a few people have noticed they have a
problem and called the helpdesk but we're not in the middle of a
helpdesk meltdown or anything like that," Mr Lindsay said.
Telstra which estimated that around 2500 of the infected computers
belonged to its customers has temporarily re-directed traffic from the
machines to keep them online and buy more time for customers to solve
An Optus spokeswoman said that the carrier had noticed "nothing major"
in its call centres by 4.15pm today.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) estimated that
7500 Australian computers were still infected with or impacted by the
virus just before the servers were shutdown in the US at midnight
They were among an estimated 280,000 around the world yet to have
removed the virus devised by an Estonian crime gang as part of an
advertising scam over a year ago.
The virus, called "DNSChanger", hobbles computer internet connections in
such a way that that rely on special servers the FBI set up late last
year to keep them online.
The virus let the gang take control of websites the computers visited to
inflate traffic to certain websites in support of the scam. Shutting
down the servers instantly would have left the potentially millions of
Australian ISPs have been preparing for the shutdown for months and
contacting customers whose computers showed signs that they were using
the FBI's temporary servers.
The ACMA has been campaigning since March to warn internet users to
check for the virus.
Information collected from the FBI servers indicated that most were
connecting from home homes rather than businesses, ACMA's e-security
chief Bruce Matthews said.
"We suspect that most of the infections are on home networks largely
because of more effective control of corporate networks," Mr Matthews said.
Last week Optus said it had been warning customers to check their
computers for the virus but didn't expect its impact on them to be
According to the FBI, the number of computers that probably are infected
worldwide is more than 277,000 worldwide, down from about 360,000 in
April. About 64,000 still-infected computers are probably in the US.
In March, the ACMA set up websites that would allow Australian internet
users to test whether they had the virus. It is urging Australians to
email: brd at iimetro.com.au
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