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COLLEGE STATION- A computer virus that infected half a million computers could leave many without Internet after July 9th.
The FBI shut down a hacking group in Estonia in November 2011 that had already hit over 500,000 computers. They shut down the servers to stop further infection, but had to bring their own rescue servers in to keep already infected computers able to access the Internet.
"So they eliminated the bad servers and were able to shut them down," Bill McGuire with the Better Business Bureau said. "And all they did was transfer all the computers they were using onto rescue servers."
Now, the FBI is losing money keeping those servers running. Originally those servers were only supposed to run until March 2012, but a court ruling extended the program until July 9th. That means after July 9th, if a computer is still infected then it won't be able to access the Internet. "They estimate there are still 360,000 computers that have this virus, this malware in their computer," McGuire said.
However, it's a simple task to check and see if your computer is infected. You go to www.dcgw.gov and click "detect." Then on the second page, click the first link that starts with "for example." If the next page is green, then the computer is free. It takes roughly two minutes.
"It's not much time out of their life," McGuire said. "And you'll sleep better at night knowing that your computer is clean."
However, if it doesn't turn up green and you are infected, then it needs to be worked on.
"We want to make sure it's clean," Craig Paull with Systek Computers said. "From whomever they choose as far as cleaning their computer and bring it in to a professional to get the virus removed and get some good protection in place."
If the 9th does roll around and your computer is infected, it's still okay. The computer can still be fixed.
"I mean it's really more of an inconvenience, it's not going to harm the computer, but without Internet nowadays a computer really is completely useless."
Paull said the goal of the virus was to make money through pop-ups which would slow down your computer. He also warned of another virus posing as the FBI that says it will lock your computer unless you pay $100.