TULSA - Tens of thousands of Americans may lose their Internet service Monday unless they do a quick check for malware. A warning about the problem has been sent by Internet service providers and the FBI has set up a special website .
The FBI believes that more than 277,000 computers are infected worldwide and about 64,000 of them are in the U.S. Authorities say the malware actually infected computers a year ago.
Geek Rescue owner Damon DoRemus said his office has received several calls with people wondering what they have to do to prevent being shut out from the world wide web.
The problem began when international hackers ran an online advertising scam to take control of more than 570,000 infected computers around the world. When the FBI went in to take down the hackers late last year, agents realized that if they turned off the malicious servers being used to control the computers, all the victims would lose their Internet service.
In a highly unusual move, the FBI set up a safety net. They brought in a private company to install two clean Internet servers to take over for the malicious servers so that people would not suddenly lose their Internet.
But that temporary system will be shut down at 12:01 a.m. EDT Monday, July 9.
Several people we spoke with in Tulsa were unaware of the upcoming deadline.
Every computer owner should check to see if their computer is infected at the FBI website . The website will walk people through the steps to remove the malware. Come Monday you won't have Internet access to fix the problem, and will likely have to call your Internet provider or take it to a computer repair shop.