I have been continually amazed at the extraordinary incompetence of the press in their coverage of the DNSchanger malware clean-up. The tech press has, overall, done a shaky enough job. They’ve explained the source of the problem — malware that had infected millions at its peak and which redirected traffic from those computers through special servers set up by the bad guys to serve up ads, which was subsequently taken over by the FBI in order to provide a window for those affected by the malware time to clean up their machines — but which will now be turned off, potentially leaving some users with their machines pointed toward soon-to-be nonexistent servers. (Still many in the tech press have managed to get a number of smaller points wrong.) Estimates suggested that at most, around 60,000 net users in the US were still at risk.
But it’s the general, mainstream news media who have really bollixed the job.
First, they opened their playbook to the “virus” page and used their typical boilerplates — although the situation is far from a typical malware threat situation — and that has caused a number of ludicrous distortions, since we’re not facing either a typical zero day threat nor even the much more rare malware ‘timebomb’ but rather the consequence of the termination of a net security services disruption mitigation effort.
Second, many or most of the mainstream stories on the ‘threat’ have missed the single most important piece of advice: that people could test their machines by going to specific websites set up for that purpose — or by simply using the Google search page which Google had rigged to alert those at risk.
UPDATE – from the Well-Duh File…
Mind you, even this CNET piece gets some of the details wrong.
For instance, the FBI network was not “blocking” malware but rather acting as a bridge to the full Internet from the formerly black-hat controlled servers that victims had had their internal settings pointed to by the DNSChanger trojan.
A bunch of dummies, with the tech press only being marginally better than the befuddled mainstream.