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Ensure FBI doesn't shut down your PC on July 9

(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY   There's a chance you'll lose access to the Internet in just a few days -- on Monday, July 9.

That's the date on which the FBI is scheduled to pull the plug on DNS servers through which your PC might be connecting to the Internet. And if that happens, your PC will be unable to connect to any Web sites. Confused? Let's take a step back.

Last year, a particularly malicious malware called DNSChanger infiltrated both personal and corporate PCs across the Internet, redirecting computers to a set of DNS servers which were programmed to direct Web searches to malicious Web sites. The FBI broke up the conspiracy, made some arrests, and seized the bad DNS servers. But because a large number of PCs were already pointed at these servers, the Feds continued to operate them with clean and authentic DNS data.

Well, the clock is about to run out on those servers -- they're due to come offline on July 9. Any PCs still using them will find themselves unable to connect the Internet when the plug is pulled. I warned you about this once before when the kill date was expected to be March 8, but this new date seems firm.

The malware no longer circulates the Web, but your PC might be infected and you could be unaware. (Though to be honest, the odds are low -- especially if you run any sort of anti-virus or anti-malware software.) To be sure, though, visit dns-ok-us to run a quick check to see if your computer is infected. Also go to the DNSChanger Working Group's website for more detailed testing information and for instructions on how to rid your network of the malware.

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