Show of hands if you are aware of the FBI’s directive to the public about your routers? Show of hands if you actually rebooted yours? If you have no idea what we’re talking about or why you should care, – even a little – we’re about to break it down.
Most homes have routers set up for internet service, and once installed, we don’t really give them a second thought. But last week, the FBI issued a PSA telling us to reboot our office and home routers. The reason? Suspicious malware from a foreign entity.
The announcement indicates that potentially hundreds of thousands of routers and network access storage devices could become infected with malware, leaving them inoperable. That means no internet, folks! Figures from the Department of Justice say that over half a million devices have already been affected worldwide by VPNFilter malware.
Hear that? This malware is believed to be linked to Russian intelligence hackers. In addition to shutting down devices, it also has the capability to steal passwords and log-in information, and monitor other activities. Security specialists have discovered that among the devices affected are those by Netgear, Linksys, MikroTik, and TP-Link.
According to the Department of Justice, the group responsible for the malware attack is the Sofacy Group, who go by a number of aliases. They are no stranger to web attacks and for years have targeted governments, military agencies, and businesses.
The DOJ’s investigation has uncovered domain information which will help to identify the sources of the cyberattack as well the victims. Instead of waiting to find out if you’ve been hit, lessen your own risk.
Updating your router will remove the infectious malware, and the FBI also advises disabling the remote management settings on your device. Doing this will delete the second and third stages of the malware, which rolls out in three phases.
The first stage acts as an anchor and opens the door for the second and third parts to take root. Updating your device will provide the best security protections to ensure you aren’t left vulnerable.
The authorities are concerned that about the possibility of reinfection through the first stage, but we are encouraged not only to reboot, but to change access passwords for these devices.
So, what steps do you need to take? The quickest thing to do is unplug it, wait 1-2 minutes, and then plug it back in. For those devices that have an app, go the extra mile and install any updates for it. If you are unsure about how to do that, check with your device’s manufacturer or internet service provider for instructions.
If you have an older router that’s been around for ten years or so, you may want to replace it altogether with a more current version. Technology comes with a lot of convenience, but it’s important you protect yourself to maintain that convenience. Press play on the video below and listen to the FBI this time!
Were you aware of this big announcement? Do you know how to reset your router device? What are your thoughts on this cyberattack?