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Alexander: CenturyLink users can trust FBI website

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER
  • Star Tribune
  • June 19, 2012 - 4:54 PM

Here's what I hope is the last word on what to do before July 9 to avoid being harmed by a malicious software scheme that the FBI foiled.

Several CenturyLink Internet customers asked me to clarify last week's column about the accuracy of an FBI website that tests your computer for the "DNSChanger" malicious software. DNS stands for domain name server, a computer that translates website names into the numeric codes the Internet uses.

The malware hijacks your computer by sending it to bogus DNS web servers that were once run by fraud perpetrators, but have now been taken over by the FBI. It's important to remove the malicious software if your computer has it, because on July 9 the FBI will shut down those bogus servers, leaving infected computers without Internet service. (For details, see two previous columns at tinyurl.com/7fpo6va and tinyurl.com/76pqk2o.)

Some CenturyLink customers questioned whether the FBI website would give them accurate answers about the infection, citing a February posting on CenturyLink's website (tinyurl.com/7xfwq28) that said the company was rerouting Internet traffic around the bogus servers. The FBI test website says that such rerouting could cause it to tell consumers they have no malware infection when in fact they do.

But CenturyLink says it has solved the problem by updating the way Internet traffic moves.

"We are redirecting DNS traffic away from the malicious sites and sending it to CenturyLink-controlled DNS servers," said Joanna Hjelmeland, a company spokeswoman. "However, recently we made an adjustment to the process and now CenturyLink customers can check whether they are infected at www.dns-ok.us."

QI'm switching computers from a Windows Vista PC to a Macintosh, and I need to move my e-mails from Microsoft Windows Mail to the Mac. I want to use a flash drive to transfer the e-mails, but I've been having problems trying to export or copy the files from Windows Mail. Any thoughts?

CYNDY ALBERT, MIAMI

AWindows Vista uses an e-mail file format that can be converted to Macintosh Mail by two commercially available programs that run on Windows. Once you convert the Windows Mail files, store them on a flash drive for transfer to the Mac (which can read data stored in Windows format.)

Since I haven't personally used these programs, I can't vouch for their effectiveness. They are "Birdie Windows Mail to Mac Mail Converter" (tinyurl.com/br3qx29) and PCVare Software's "Windows Mail to Mac Mail Converter" (tinyurl.com/cqldjor).

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Av. S., Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.

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