Your Questions Answered: How to prevent a malware meltdown

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DENVER — A malware meltdown kept thousands of people off the Internet Monday.

And even though it wasn’t the doomsday some computer experts predicted, some say you should use this scare to make sure your computer stays safe.

The good news is the FBI was able to break up a criminal enterprise associated with this cyber attack and put replacement servers in place to keep things running normally.

That was until Monday when they shut them down, leaving thousands of infected computers potentially without Internet access.

But computer security experts say this points to a bigger risk taken by too many computer users.

It’s called domain name service, or DNS.

“DNS acts as essentially the white pages for the Internet,” said Dr. Steve Beaty, a computer engineer and security expert for the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder.

The DNS changer malware steals your computer’s phone book and replaces it with its own.

“Forcing you to go to sites and those sites look exactly like the real sites,” said Beaty.

They are sites which can infect your computer with more malware and steal your personal information such as bank accounts and passwords.

You’ll know if yours is one of the estimated 47,000 still infected when you go online.

“Your computer will come back and say no such domain essentially saying I’ve tried to do this lookup and the lookup failed,” said Dr. Beaty.

Both Google an Facebook have been putting up warning messages.

“These sorts of threats occur on a daily basis so it’s very, very important to get some sort of anti-malware anti-spyware anti-virus on your computers,” Beaty warns.

Most internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon are offering help for those still infected with DNS changer. They will walk you through resetting your computer’s DNS numbers

“Once you correct that you’re going to want to get an anti-virus piece of software to go through your computer and then remove the malware itself,” Beaty said.

The good news is this threat is fixable.

But cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to steal.

It’s important that people practice safe surfing techniques,” Beaty said.

Because no matter how innocent it looks, the next computer threat is just one click away.

There are some important sites where you can go to learn how to fix this latest malware infection. They appear below:

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