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Internet apocalypse flopped, companies smart to be prepared

While experts predicted a worldwide internet apocalypse for Monday, July 9, the alleged widespread virus did not happen.
While experts predicted a worldwide internet apocalypse for Monday, July 9, the alleged widespread virus did not happen.

For several weeks it was widely advertised across news stations and Internet sites that a type of Internet Armageddon would take place on Monday, July 9, causing potentially millions of computer users across the globe to lose most of their Internet access.

In November, FBI officials traced a malware scheme to Eastern Europe, that was designed to tell computers to use criminals' own Domain Name System (DNS) instead of their own, and redirect users to fraudulent advertising sites. The FBI arranged for a private company to swap the rogue servers with legitimate ones, to keep users connected to the Internet. However, the contract was set to expire at 12:01 a.m., early Monday morning. As such, many security firms and media outlets predicted an outcome similar to the supposed Y2K bug.

The predicted computer apocalypse though did not happen. Official tallies are yet to be released, according to the New York Times, but they are expected to be much lower than original projections.

Several Internet service providers – including Verizon and AT&T – temporarily substituted their own DNS servers for the ones set up by the FBI. There were also multiple public awareness campaigns created, urging individuals to check their systems and clean them if necessary.

FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer told CNET that as of July 4 there were an estimated 45,600 infected computers in the U.S. and 252,000 worldwide. Those numbers dropped to about 41,800 and 211,000 by the night of July 8.

"It shows that there is the ability to come up with solutions to cyber crime that may not have been necessary in the past," Shearer said. "As the cyber criminals are able to adapt, so too can law enforcement agencies."

Even if a disaster is predicted, whether it's through cyberspace or from the National Weather Service, companies will benefit from ensuring that they have a proper business continuity plan in place to ensure a full recovery is possible.