It is entirely possible that for some on the Internet, Doomsday is not 21 December 2012, but rather July 9th 2012. The reason is that if your computer is infected by the DNSChanger virus, your internet connectivity may be abruptly removed.
The FBI found a bank of routing servers that were routing infected computers to places other than those they might want to go. Rather than shutting down the bogus routing computers, the Federal Bureau of Investigation decided to keep them running for a while. However, all good things must eventually come to an end. If the FBI has been the defacto cyber landlord of your gateway to Internet, you may be out of luck by the time 10 July 2012 rolls around.
What can you do about it? Well you could run around in tiny circles screaming. However, from personal experience I do not recommend it. Rather, you should probably do what most people, who think they have a virus do--get tested. Fortunately for you, a test for this particular viral infection is just a mouse click away.
You might be wondering, if your computer was indeed one of the infected ones, what was happening to your computer while it was infected and what can you do to avoid this kind of thing in the future.
As to what was happening to your computer, a little lesson on how the internet works is in order.
As you probably know, in reality, computers don’t understand a word we tell them. They don’t speak English. They speak in numbers. So when you type in www.Google.com, the computer does not readily understand what you mean. For this reason there is a look up table that turns the “phrase” www.google.com into numbers like: 184.108.40.206. Every web address you know or might look up somewhere has a corresponding set of numbers that are what your computer uses to actually get you to your internet destination. Now if our computers had infinite memory and infinite speed we could keep all the information we could conceivably use on them and we would never need a look up computer to translate information. But no computer that will ever be made has infinite speed or capacity. This means we always need specialized computers to do jobs like look up internet addresses for us. The computers that turns internet address look ups into numbers are called Domain Name Service or DNS computers. They help route your computer to the different places on the internet. The DNSChanger virus was sending the infected computers to a bogus bank of DNS computers. If you were infected you might have been sent to a place where advertising, and viruses abound. You might have been sent to fake look-alike websites and those sites might have robbed you of all your logins and passwords.
But what can you do for the future? How do you avoid the next infection?
To paraphrase Ripley from the movies Aliens, the only way to be sure is to nuke the net from orbit. In practical terms that means the only way to be sure that your computer is virus free is to pay some geek to help you back up all your files, get the original operating system and all your software tools and your drivers and then to reformat your hard drive. Then check all your backed up files for viruses. Then reload the operating system and the drivers. Before reloading your files, get some good anti-virus and anti-malware software. If you are too cheap to buy the stuff there are places on the internet where you can get some pretty good protection for free. Once you have protection on your computer, reload your files and enjoy your computer again.
By way, there is a reason why I suggest you pay some geek to help you with the process of reformatting your hard drive. If you screw it up, you will be making your computer into a large, expensive paperweight. Unless you know what you are doing, and you have successfully performed the procedure before, you should probably pay a geek to reformat your hard drive.