May 3, 2012 at 1:21 PM ET
If you see this message pop up on your computer screen in the days, weeks and months ahead, don't panic: It's legitimate and it's meant to warn you about malware that could hurt your computer.
We recently told you about the "Internet doomsday" that could happen July 9 for PC and Mac users who haven't taken steps to make sure their systems aren't infected with DNSChanger malware.
The malware is so vicious — it can interfere with users' Web browsing, steer them to fraudulent websites and make their computers vulnerable to other malicious software — that the FBI has put a safety net of sorts in place, using government computers to prevent any Internet disruptions for users whose computers may be infected. But the government's safety net goes away July 9, and starting on that day, you may not be able to get an Internet connection if your computer is infected with DNSChanger.
Two companies, OpenDNS and CloudFlare, have put together the message alert system to help more than a half-million U.S. users who are believed to have the DNSChanger malware on their computers and don't know it, and who may not have read about it in recent weeks.
Both companies — doing the program as a "goodwill effort," according to a spokesperson for OpenDNS — have been working on "detecting IP addresses and recognizing those associated with the malware."
Infected users will see the message shown above pop up on their computer screen. The message says, in part, that the user's Domain Name Server settings suggest "you probably have the DNSChanger malware."
Users are then directed to an OpenDNS website which has instructions on how to switch DNS to OpenDNS's trusted servers. The message also has a link to the FBI's website for more information. (You can learn more from the FBI here.)
Both companies talk about their effort in this press release.
If you are among those seeing the new message, and don't take any action, you'll keep getting the message until you do — right up until July 9, when your Internet connection is severed.