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Has the NSA gone too far in its data collection efforts?

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Your Internet Could Die Today
Posting Date: 07/08/2012

By John Taylor

A SIMPLE CHECK OF YOUR COMPUTER WILL DETERMINE IF YOU'RE GOOD TO GO

The notice from Reliance Connects, Mesquite's Internet Service Provider, read “ACTION REQUIRED -Your Personal Information May Be At Risk!” It went on to explain to all Reliance customers that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (F.B.I.) had informed them that a small number of Reliance customers' computers had been infected by malicious software called the Domain Name System (DNS) Changer virus. The F.B.I. also had a warning on their web site. Many computer experts acknowledged this could be the Internet's doomsday.

The problem began last November when the F.B.I. arrested six Estonian nationals after a four year investigation and accused them of making millions of dollars from an online advertising scam that involved fake DNS servers. A DNS server is a computer that links the website name that you enter into your browser, for example www.mesquitecitizen.com, to the exact location on the web of that site so that those two sites can talk to each other.

The scammers had infected about four million computers, 500,000 of which were in this country, when people clicked on bad email attachments or phony advertising links. The virus would silently change the domain names so as to divert computers to scam sites. The result is you never really know what sites you are actually dealing with.

Shutting down the rogue servers, however,

would effectively unplug the innocent victim from the Internet. To help victims clean up their infected computers, the F.B.I. joined with computer experts to create the DNS Changer Working Group to easily determine whether or not a computer is infected. After July 9, however, those infected computers that have not gotten rid of the virus will suddenly go dark and have to reinstall Windows and even their DSL or cable modem software.

To check if your computer is infected, go to http://dns-ok.us and the site will automatically inspect your computer. Visiting www.dcwg.org will give worried computer users information on the virus and links to free tools to get rid of any related problems.

Brenda Crosby, President of Cascade Access/Reliance Connects, said there are several ways to protect yourself from computer viruses:

--Never open unsolicited attachments in an email.

--Do not follow unsolicited links

--Maintain updated anti-virus software

--Use an Internet firewall

y far the most common way to get a virus is clicking on an email attachment but also clicking on sudden advertising pop-ups that offer to clean your infected computer, using sites with pirated music, movies or software, and downloading infected games, utilities or other programs.

“I was informed by my Internet Service Provider that my email account had been hijacked by someone in Bahrain,” said Lindsey Cavallini of Mesquite. “Over the years, I have known many people whose email addresses were used by hijackers to send out scam information and suspicious links. It is really important to pay attention to what goes on in your computer.”

 

Commentary
  • Posted Date: 07/08/2012
    Was that for real? I called Reliance Connects and they told me not to click on anything. I deleted the email.
    By: Oldstamper
  •  
  • Posted Date: 07/08/2012
    I received 2 emails from Reliance but immediately deleted them because they showed all the signs of being a scam. A friend called and told me they were really from Reliance so I followed the instructions and my internet is OK. The thing that makes me mad is that Reliance sent these phony looking emails to me. Next time, make them look real and I won't delete them or why not put a message on Channel 9 and in the newspapers so we know that they are legitimate?
    By: 4 Deuces
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  • Posted Date: 07/08/2012
    Thank you so much for this info MCJ. I got the email from reliance connects but wasn't sure what to do. Now I know and my compluter is OK. Thank you.
    By: Nancy
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  • Posted Date: 07/08/2012
    To Oldstamper: Yes, it's for real. Click on the link in the story and you'll know if your computer is okay. Barbara Ellestad
    By: Barbara Ellestad
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  • Posted Date: 07/08/2012
    Yippee! My computer is clean. Thanks for the info.
    By: Arthur
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  • Posted Date: 07/08/2012
    I am glad Reliance Connects is on the ball on these viruses. I also got the email and was suspeicious at first but checked it out before I clicked anything. I never click on anything attached to a email unless I am 100% sure where it came from.
    By: Peggy
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  • Posted Date: 07/08/2012
    Timely and critical. Goodjob, editor.
    By: D.J.
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  • Posted Date: 07/08/2012
    I've been hearing this on the TV news today, so I checked and my computer is clean. I just wish that I would have gotten a straight answer when I called Reliance Connects on Saturday. Their employees should be told of things like this.
    By: Oldstamper
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  • Posted Date: 07/08/2012
    I saw something about this on the web but thought it was a joke or something. But when I read it in the citizen journal, I knew it must be the real thing. I checked mine and I got a green light.
    By: Margie
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  • Posted Date: 07/08/2012
    Reliance isn't my internet company and my company didn't even send out any notices about the virus. I happened to read the in this paper and I'm glad I did. I might re-think my internet company.
    By: Kenny
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  • Posted Date: 07/10/2012
    Yep, those folks have a bit to be desired for sure. I wish they had it in their budget to actually include a return envelope with their bills like everyboyd else in the world.
    By: Scott
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