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DNSChanger Threatens 10,000 Australian Internet Connections

April 7, 2012

DNSChanger was a malicious application that changed a user's Domain Name System (DNS) settings, allowing cyber-criminals to direct people to specific web sites. While law enforcement agencies caught up with the gang responsible; the malware will still have a sting in its tail for some.

The Domain Name System is the address book of the Internet and DNS settings are a critical  part of configuration for Internet connectivity. Without those settings or if incorrectly configured, the Internet - including web browsing and email services - can't be accessed from a home computer.

By controlling a user's DNS in the way DNSChanger did, criminals can push users to sites with fraudulent or malicious content, such as sites that install additional malware, or otherwise interfere with a user's web browsing.

When the gang behind the worldwide spread of DNSChanger was shut down in November last year, the FBI worked with other agencies to set up servers so infected computers would be provided a correct Domain Name System resolution - but it was only ever meant to be a short term arrangement. 

It was estimated that 4 million people were affected globally in November. Many of those may still be infected and not know it as they are still able to access online services thanks to the FBI's temporary fix. These users include an estimated 10,000 computers in Australia.

The temporary DNS server arrangement is coming to an end in early July. People with computers still infected will likely be unable to connect to the Internet when the service is switched off. 

To determine if your computer is infected, a diagnostic website at has been established by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), CERT Australia and the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE). 

The site can be used to confirm whether your computer has been infected with DNSChanger and provides links to tools and advice for removing an infection. There are also instructions for manual diagnosis, including a list of "rogue" Domain Name System settings that can be checked against the settings on a computer.

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