Telstra Is Throwing A Safety Net To Its 2500 Infected DNSChanger Customers

By now you probably know what DNSChanger is and that the FBI has already turned off the reclaimed DNS servers that routed users back to the internet. Here's what you don't know: Telstra is throwing its customers who still haven't changed their DNS settings a rope, by redirecting them around the problem. Sigh.

There's so much wrong with this. These people have had months to change their DNS settings back to normal, and the blanket media coverage that this piece of malware has generated, and the simplicity of actually checking to see if you're infected means that there's no reason you shouldn't have figured out that you're one of the unlucky 6000 infected by DNSChanger and fixed it by now. According to Telstra, the number of infected users it's carrying is around 2500.

If you haven't realised you're it, you're downright irresponsible and don't deserve to be operating a computer. People this silly need to get off our internet until they've learnt their lesson.

Telstra's not doing anyone any favours by swaddling them in blankets and giving them a biscuit. It's malware. It's real and it's everywhere. Mother telco won't be around next time someone asks them for their credit card details or steals their identity to take out a new loan. It's luring these users into a false sense of online security, and it's wrong.

It's not like the telco hasn't been trying to get in touch with these customers either. In my eyes, these users have had their chance.

It's time to let your customers grow up, Telstra. [Telstra]



    Why not just redirect all affected users to a webpage with instructions on how to fix it.

      Much nicer post than the tone of the original article, please nicely done.

      Thats what I was thinking, or with a download link to an anti-virus program which can.

        The fbi should have done this in the first place when they took over the servers. Thr message should have been simple like "your computer is infected, we will only let you get to these repair sites..."

          While I totally agree with the sentiment of this, if this happened to me I would immediately think I had malware and would ignore the page trying to figure out how to get rid of it. Once I found other sources confirming it was malware then I would be ok but seriously we spend all our time trying to instruct people not to click links when they are unknown. This is the same thing

            Umm but you would have malware that was causing it (how else would your DNS get changed to the bad server int he first place) so the shock value would cause them to call their ISP (and the IVR at the ISP could confirm via recorderd message to ease the burden on the help desk) or their tech contact.

    How dare they help people!?

    So much hate for a company trying to help people out. Could be any number of reasons why people have not yet caught on

    Wow, right-o Luke, i can just imagine my 60 year old mother, if her computer had become infected by DNSChanger, having no problem at all going through the maze that is windows network settings and changing her DNS settings back to what they should be. Australia is filled with many different types of people with varying degrees of technological know how. Good on Telstra for taking into account all types of people, not just the ones that visit gizmodo.

    bit harsh? I may be a rare one here, but I pretty much block out all all media. havent heard about this one yet... but thanks to your post here at Gizmodo, I have since checked the website and I don't appear to be affected.

    Apple treats its users the same way when vulnerabilities crop on on those platforms- like the issue with that infected MS word torrent. The same arguments weren't levelled against those users.

    I dunno, I think it's probably a pretty good thing that these companies take a hand in protecting hapless users from themselves. The net isn't really a big libertarian dog eat dog free for all.

    And if they didn't do anything, there would be 2,500 angry customers calling or going to their local Telstra stores demanding to know why their internet service isn't working, and then wanting to get a refund on their latest bill because they didn't provide the service as promised.

    As they say, damned if you do and damned if you don't.

    Your article sucks, the fact is lesser knowledgeable people don't need to be thrown in the deep and all Telstra needs is 2500 to its Indian call centre swapping them with this stupid problem.

    Leaving one comment is easier than replying individually to each of you with pretty much the same thing.

    Is this article harsh? A little. Needlessly so? Nope.

    Radio, television, print and online media ran this story with prominence today. When something gets blanket media coverage like that, it's tough to ignore.

    If you're an internet user, it's your responsibility to ensure that your machine is functioning correctly. There are dangerous, deceitful people online who'd like nothing better than to take Crabman's grandmother's money, for example, after convincing her they were trying to help.

    The internet in 2012 isn't like the television in the early 1970s. You can't sit someone down in front of it and think that they'll be ok. They won't know where to go to come to any harm after all, right? Wrong. The internet isn't a passive medium and trouble comes to find you. You need to be proactive with your own protection.

    DNSChanger malware was thankfully stopped by the FBI and the servers were redirected, and people were given until March this year to change over their DNS settings. Lots of people still hadn't done it, so it was extended until 2pm this afternoon. A lengthy public awareness campaign was run from the Australian Communications and Media Authority no less, before the mainstream media picked it up for a whole week of coverage. Unless you're walking about with blinders on, this story would have found you.

    SO. Now Telstra is throwing out yet another safety net to the people who the story was presented to (and to people the company itself contacted, no less), the same people who have still done nothing about it despite the warnings.

    It's easy to check if you're infected. Josh did it and it's so easy. Go right here: and test yourself. It takes literally 10 seconds.

    The point of this piece is to say that after such a lengthy campaign, with such easy and free fixes available to keep you from losing something the UN has just declared a basic human right, it's gross negligence for you not to take action, and Telstra doing this is just enabling the wilfully ignorant. It can happen to you.

      Yeah you did answer some questions I had.
      So yes the customers were contacted directly. That definitely changes things, this should have been mentioned in the article.
      However I still think it was a little harsh in tone. Im a tech savy guy and like to keep up to date with the latest and today was the first time I had ever heard of this malware. Saying that it was reported on all the old media outlets like radio, tv and paper is kinda laughable really. I dont read, listen or watch any of those anymore. Picky point to make, yes, but still its valid. The people who use those forms of media are very, very unlikely to be the same people who check or even follow up on removing malware.
      As others mentioned, everyone is quick to tear Telstra a metaphorical one but it almost seems worse that they are preempting a customer problem and trying to be helpful. As emily said above, damned if you do and damned if you dont

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    I heard about this a few months ago, likely via a tech news site. I was then reminded about it again a few days ago on an invite only forum Im a member of. Can't say I've really heard anything else about it. I just did a search for "dnschanger" and "dns changer" on the ABC news site and got no results. Where has it been widely publicised? Im not taking the piss, genuine question. I had also thought that the FBI should have been sending the infected users to a page detailing how to remove it, did they do that?

    For those identified as infested, divert ALL traffic to a 'fix' site. Let them bleat and squeal all they like, but don't let them continue till they fix the problem at their end. Problem solved in less than 10 minutes, GLOBALLY! This is war on digital terrorism and must be tackled as such. You don't let the children play with the leftover bombs after war, do you?

    I work in IT and only just found out about DNSchanger today.... Did it ever occure to you that people dont sit on the interwebz all day being nerdz and following the media? Wasnt this site bombarding me with Telstra crap not so long ago? Sorry we live busy lives and dont follow your crappy site day in and day out... Who needs to get a life buddy?

      Hey Joe. No one asked you to follow this site. Although try following maybe one of the other not so technical sites out there - ABC, SMH, NEWS, BBC, GUARDIAN or pretty much any new agency that reports on issues in metro. i even saw it in the local community paper. Work in IT? thats awesome. How on gods earth do you stay up to date with technology?

    i agree with the content and tone of the article. the internet is not a safe road to be playing on without knowing what your doing. everyone needs to get serious about what can happen. i tell users all the time, happy to give them advice and support, but they need to take the time out to better prepare themselves for how to use the internet wisely and learn the basics. For all those who claim not to have heard about it til now, might be a good idea to start staying informed. sounds harsh....but if your response to articles like this which have received quite a bit of coverage, is that you didnt see it, then this should be your wake up call.

    I only found out about this the day before it was supposed to happen, don't watch t.v. or listen to the radio. Only found out by going to bigpond's homepage

    It's a lose lose for Telstra, they try to inform less savvy customers and get roasted, but if they did not how much more scathing would your article have been?

    Hate gets more hits though, so well played.

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