"Mendacious machines controlled by hackers that reroute Internet traffic from infected computers to fraudulent Web sites are increasingly being used to launch attacks, according to a paper published this week by researchers with the Georgia Institute of Technology and Google Inc.
The paper estimates roughly 68,000 servers on the Internet are returning malicious Domain Name System results, which means people with compromised computers are sometimes being directed to the wrong Web sites — and often have no idea.
The peer-reviewed paper, which offers one of the broadest measurements yet of the number of rogue DNS servers, was presented at the Internet Society's Network and Distributed System Security Symposium in San Diego.
The fraud works like this: When a user with an affected computer tries to go to, for example, Google's Web site, they are redirected to a spoof site loaded with malicious code or to a wall of ads whose profits flow back to the hackers.
The hackers who hijack DNS queries are looking to steal personal information, from e-mail login credentials to credit data, and take over infected machines.
The spoof sites run the gamut. Some are stunningly convincing, others amusingly bogus with spelling errors and typos."