Miami Computer Crime News Alert: Will Today Be a "Day of Doom" for DNSChanger Malware?

July 9, 2012 by David S. Seltzer

The Florida cyber crime team here at Seltzer Law, PA, is always on the lookout for important breaking computer crime news. Here's today's hot cybercrime news: the FBI suspects that thousands upon thousands of web users in the United States could be cast into the digital dark ages, thanks to the indirect impact of DNSChanger Malware. The FBI believes that 200,000 users abroad and 64,000 computer users in the U.S. may lose service today, in spite of nearly ubiquitous precautions doled out by Facebook, Google, various ISPs, and news commentators.

DNS Changer Malware: As Clever As It Is Nefarious

Last year, 500,000+ infected machines were redirected to sites that the attackers prepared. The goal? To cash in on referral fees and affiliate commissions. They succeeded, big time, to the tune of around $14 million. But the malware doesn’t just redirect web browsers. It stops machines from downloading anti-virus updates and corrective operating system repairs.

FBI traced the malware attack to Eastern Europe, seized 100 servers used in the operation, and charged 7 men with spearheading the scheme. Without getting into the nitty-gritty technical details about how the FBI plans to shut down the operation… the Bureau will need to pull the plug on the internet systems consortium replacement servers today.

The Bottom Line

If your machine had been infected with the malware, you may have trouble accessing certain websites today.

The shutdown will have a wide impact. It will affect two government agencies and over 10% of the Fortune 500 companies.

So 6 Estonians and 1 Russian nearly shut down the Internet. What can this DNSChanger situation tell us about Florida cyber crime. More specifically, how should it inform your potential defense, if you face similar charges in Florida or elsewhere?

The first lesson – and this is a theme that we've reinforced in multiple recent blog posts – is that computer crimes have a way of sparking massive, international impact, even when no such impact had been intended. That 7 men working internationally could cause the commotion they did illustrates the fragility of our computer networks and highlights how closely we're all connected.

The scope of the crime that you committed (or allegedly committed) may subject you to intense penalties, including substantial jail time and massive fees, even if you only “intended” to do something small and minor.

For instance, say one of your associates – whom you never even met face to face – committed additional criminal activities, while working for you. For instance, maybe he completed a drug deal, hurt someone in an armed robbery, et cetera. If that happened, you could wind-up paying dearly for your association in terms of a massively enhanced sentence and other unpleasantness.

The team here at the Seltzer Law, PA, can help you put up a defense and protect your freedom. We have extensive experience with complex computer crime cases in Florida and beyond. We're happy to provide a free consultation to you, any time of day or night.

Call our hotline now at 1 888-THE DEFENSE (888-843-3333).