Mini Accessible Tech: Will you have Internet access on July 9?

A quick visit to a government Web site could make sure you don’t lose your Internet connection in July.

The FBI says that hundreds of thousands of computers are infected with a virus, and those machines will lose Internet access on July 9.

Green means you're not infected.The virus affects how those computers look up addresses on the Internet — so when you type in, your browser goes to the correct Web site. It uses what’s know as the Domain Name System — a network of computers that manages all Internet traffic.

The virus tricks a computer into using fake DNS servers, so hackers could substitute fake Web sites (for phishing scams, for example).

The FBI found and arrested the hackers. That’s good. What’s bad is that hundreds of thousands of people are now dependent on the hackers’ system for Internet access.

Red means you need to fix your machine before July 9.The FBI has fixed that system so it routes people to correct addresses, but it can’t leave it up forever. So on July 9, it’s shutting the fake servers. And then anyone affected will start getting “address not found” errors.

So the feds set up a site, that anyone can use to see if their computer is affected/infected, and then fix it lickedy-split.

Visit the site. If you see green, you’re OK. If you see red, you’re not — and you’ll see instructions for fixing your machine. It take literally a fraction of a second.

Click here to read the whole story.

About Andrew Kantor

Andrew is VAR's editor and information manager, and -- lessee now -- a former reporter for the Roanoke Times, former technology columnist for USA Today, and a former magazine editor for a bunch of places. He hails from New York with stops in Connecticut, New Jersey, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Roanoke.
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