Posted by Renee Schmidt

I wrote last week about life without the internet and what it would be like if it were to go down for 24 hours.  In an ironic twist, the FBI warns of a real malware threat that may result in widespread Internet outages this coming Monday, July 9th. 

Will Monday be the day when thousands lose their Internet connection because of malware? The threat is more than a nasty rumor. In fact, not only is the FBI involved, so are the major Internet Service Providers (ISP’s), who have sent notices to their subscribers. Accordingly, many Americans may lose Internet service Monday unless they perform a quick checkup of their computers for malware that could have infected their machines over a year ago.

I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, after all, the threat is not pandemic, but there are reportedly about 300,000 computers infected worldwide. These infected machines will lose their ability to go online on Monday.  Users will be required to call their ISP for support in deleting the malware and reconnecting to the Internet.

The Malware is the creation of international hackers who had been shut down by the FBI last year. When the FBI infiltrated the hackers they realized that if they turn off the malicious servers controlling infected computers it would disconnect the respective victims from the Internet.  The FBI chose instead to bring in a third party company to setup a temporary system.  That system will be shut down this coming Monday at 12:01AM EST.

Many popular sites, even social networking sites, are aware of the problem and are warning their users about it. For instance, if you login to Google or Facebook with an infected computer, you will be shown a warning message “Your computer or network might be infected,” along with a link to additional information.

But it’s not just individual computers that are at risk; the FBI reported that about 50 Fortune 500 companies are also infected!

If you want to check the status of your machine, you can visit a special site that has been setup by the third party group brought in by the FBI  The site lets you use a tool to check your computer, or alternatively, it can provide you with instructions on how to check your computer manually.