Published: Wed, May 30, 2018
Industry | By Johnnie Johnson

Federal Bureau of Investigation advises reboot, upgrade of routers after Russian hacking

Federal Bureau of Investigation advises reboot, upgrade of routers after Russian hacking

According to a public service announcement released by the bureau, malicious actors used malware known as "VPNFilter" to compromise hundreds of thousands of routers.

The "actors" are using VPNFilter malware to target small office and home office routers.

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The agency recommends that "any owner of small office and home office routers" reboot their device. Rebooting interrupts the malware, if present. The malware can potentially also collect information passing through the router.

According to reports by Cisco's Talos Intelligence, at least 500,000 routers in 54 countries were targeted by the malware, which is called VPNFilter. Turning the router on and off temporarily disrupts the malware and erases parts of it, though the router can be reinfected. Talos researchers further stated that, in their view, VPNFilter did not use any zero-day vulnerabilities and only exploited devices that had not been patched for known issues. Meanwhile, they say users of their products should keep their devices updated with the latest firmware, and change their router's default admin password. Among the affected networking equipment it found during its research were devices from manufacturers including Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear and TP-Link. The FBI has already received permission to seize a web domain critical to controlling the malware. The malware can do things like scoop up users' personal data and cripple website service. The group is believed to be directed by Russia's military intelligence. They also suggest that you disable any remote management features. Unfortunately, this process will require you to setup your router again, add an admin password, and setup any wireless networks that are configured.

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Unfortunately, there's no easy way to tell if your router has been compromised by hackers.

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