300,000 could lose their internet access as the FBI tackles cyber criminals

in Technology
by James Delves

More than 300,000 people, many from the US and UK, could lose internet access later today as the FBI shuts off servers used by cyber thieves.

The move follows raids in 2011 to break up a gang of cyber criminals who infected in excess of four million victims. The cyber-attack caused victims' web searches to be routed through a server owned by the cyber criminals. According to the FBI infected victims would start out trying to visit sites such as the BBC or You Tube but would instead be directed to sites displaying adverts that led to the gang being paid.

The move is thought to have allowed the gang to amass a £9 million profit. One of the reasons that they were so successful is that they managed to take over the domain name look-up phase on an internet search by infecting computers with a malware called DNS Changer, which alters how a PC converts domain names into numbers. The largest group of machines still harbouring the infection are in the US but many other nations, including Italy, India, the UK and Germany, have substantial numbers. There have been six arrests to date who are Estonian  nationals while the seventh member of the gang, a Russian, remains at large.

IT security firms are hailing the arrests as the "biggest cyber-criminal take down in history".

If you think that you might be the victim of the cyber-attack the FBI and Trend Micro have produced a software tool that can detect if your PR or Mac has been infected, you can find out by downloading the free software.