Malware may knock thousands off Internet on Monday - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Malware may knock thousands off Internet on Monday

Thousands of Americans could lose their Internet on Monday.

That's because the FBI is cracking down on a dangerous computer virus. Internet providers are warning those with the virus, clean your computer or your Internet will be shut off.

"[You]could just open an email," said John Nelson, computer specialist. "It could be an email from a friend, an attachment or something that you can get on your computer and you don't even know it."

Computer shop owner Jon Nelson sees computer viruses every day.

But what makes this one stand out? Authorities say the virus converts the numerical addresses that allow computers to talk to each other. Basically, the web site you think you're going to may be a fraud.

"It could definitely take over your computer," said Nelson. "If you are putting an address and you think you are going to a legitimate site and you're not, yah it can cause lots of problems."

So how can you avoid going offline on Monday? The FBI has a web site that will check your computer to make sure its safe.

Experts says even if you aren't one of the tens of thousands that could lose Internet it's always a smart idea to make sure your computer is protected.

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The warnings about the Internet problem have been splashed across Facebook and Google. Internet service providers have sent notices, and the FBI set up a special website.

But tens of thousands of Americans may still lose their Internet service Monday unless they do a quick check of their computers for malware that could have taken over their machines more than a year ago.

Despite repeated alerts, the number of computers that are probably infected is more than 277,000 worldwide, down from about 360,000 in April. Of those still infected, the FBI believes that about 64,000 are in the United States.

Users whose computers are still infected Monday will lose their ability to go online, and they will have to call their Internet service providers for help.

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