The Lookout

Monday’s Internet ‘blackout’ fizzles

Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News
The Lookout

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(AP/File)

The Great Internet Blackout of 2012, which the FBI feared could impact thousands of Internet users, came and went with little more than a whimper on Monday, as the so-called "Doomsday" deadline passed with few reports of outages.

At 12:01 a.m. EDT, the FBI shut down temporary servers it had set up to handle Web traffic for thousands of computers infected with a virus spread by a ring of cyber criminals the bureau busted last year. Those using the estimated 200,000 computers still infected with the virus were expected to lose their Internet connection after the servers were closed down.

But Monday's big "blackout" failed to materialize.

"The impact seems to have been limited," CBS MoneyWatch.com said. According to the FBI, 41,800 of the 211,000 worldwide computers infected with the virus were in the United States, but U.S. Internet providers reported vastly fewer victims.

The virus "lacked the strength that some had feared," CNBC said, calling the interruption "overblown."

[Also read: 'Doomsday' fix: What you need to know]

In Australia, the "anticipated chaos at ISPs did not eventuate and, at worst, caused little more than a modest increase in calls to helpdesks," according to theaustralian.com.

In the U.K., "security firms reported no significant outages linked to the DNS Changer virus," the Daily Mail reported, "as many Internet service providers have either implemented a fix or contacted customers with steps to clean their computers."

Many Internet service providers had made temporary arrangements to keep those customers affected by the virus online. Online security firms, Facebook and the FBI offered free diagnostic checks for users whose computers may be infected. And the problem, security experts said, was relatively easy to fix.

Meanwhile, media hype over a potential "blackout" threatened "to obscure what has been a highly successful effort—one of few to date—to stamp out a global online scam and malware infestation," Paul Roberts wrote on threatpost.com. Six people were arrested in Estonia and charged with Internet fraud in the sting. A seventh, who was living in Russia, remains at large.

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