EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The clock is ticking for thousands of internet users to get rid of a virus lurking in their devices before it chokes off access to computers, tablets and cell phones.
WEAU 13 News spoke with a local technology expert Saturday about what you can do to stop it before it’s too late.
What do you use the internet for? That’s the question WEAU asked several people in Eau Claire.
“I use it basically for entertainment and for news,” said Laura Madison of Eau Claire.
“I'm a sports enthusiast so primarily that,” said Scott Zellmer of Eau Claire.
“Research, school work, you can do a lot of things on the internet,” said Molly Boyle of Milwaukee.
But all that web surfing could soon wipe out.
“I'm quite sure there will be plenty of people in the Chippewa Valley that will be affected,” said Todd Welch, the co-owner of TC Teks.
It’s all because of malware sent out by criminals.
Welch said the nasty viruses get into your computer through the internet and make themselves at home, redirecting your server to bogus websites to try to scam you.
“The FBI took those servers down, put up their own and it could get to the appropriate websites,” Welch said.
But at 12:01 a.m. EST Monday, the Feds say they’re shutting those protective servers down, putting a projected 64,000 world wide web at risk.
“The internet will time out and it won't take you to your websites,” Welch said.
“It's disturbing. I sure hope it doesn't happen,” Madison said.
But you’re not totally helpless before the shutdown; the FBI has created a website where you can check if you’re a victim of malware.
The site even gives tools to help remove it.
And if the viruses just won’t budge, the Eau Claire computer expert said you may have to take your device into a professional.
“Next week I think we'll have a lot of people come in and not able to get online,” Welch said.
Welch co-owns TC Teks, a computer repair and support business.
He said removing the malware could cost up to $60.
“As long as you have good anti-virus on there, and keep it up to date, you're much more protected,” Welch said.
Internet service providers are also rolling out support.
A link to the FBI’s malware website is posted below.