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The FBI is killing off a computer virus at 12:01 a.m. Monday, July 9. If a computer is infected with the Malware, it could lose service. Cyber security expert John Gannon explains how you can protect your computer. Cary Berglund reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on July 5, 2012.
[UPDATE, July 9] Analysts reported no increase in service calls to Internet providers, suggesting that the malicious software -- known as the DNS Changer threat -- did not take hold.
The panic-inducing computer crisis the FBI has been warning about is something everyone has the capacity to avoid, officials said.
"It's under the control of the good guys right now," said John Gannon, cyber security expert. "It's not doing anything bad or malicious, but the computers are still infected."
Malware, the purported “bad guy,” has been lurking inside several Internet servers for more than a year and kept at bay by the FBI which has staved off the viral infection found in search engines and web providers.
While it realized that it couldn't take down the hackers without taking down Internet service, the Bureau instead set up a safety net, bringing in a private company to install clean Internet servers.
But at 12:01 a.m. Monday, the temporary fix will be shut down. The virus users didn't even feel any symptoms from may hit them hard, which could lead to lost service if proper precautions aren’t taken.
"It's definitely important that everyone take a minute to detect to see if they have it and also run tools to clean it," Gannon said.
Often guilty of clicking "not now" or "ask me later" when prompted to update their anti-virus software, users should take the minute to check their computers, Gannon said, arguing that a minutes-long update is much less time than it would take to restore service to computers taken down by Malware.
The FBI distributed information on how to check and clean computers.