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Federal Bureau of Investigation urges people to reboot home, office routers to thwart malware attack

30 May 2018

The FBI issued an urgent bulletin, asking anyone with a home or small business internet router to turn them on and back off again to temporarily stop the spread of malware linked to Russian Federation.

According to a new report from Global News, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Friday that Russian hackers have created a malware system which has infected hundreds of thousands of routers.

Last week, Cisco Talos researchers announced the malware had infected around 500,000 home and small office routers and NAS devices.

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ArsTechnica reports that later "stages" of the malware, which steal data and so on, are temporarily disabled during a reboot.

"Foreign cyber actors have gotten into hundreds of thousands of wireless routers and they have the potential to obtain a person's information passing through so that is the real threat", Hudson explains.

According to Cisco Talos' analysis, all of the devices impacted by VPNFilter have known public vulnerabilities. Some models from Linksys, Mikrotik, Netgear, QNAP and TP-Link - mostly older ones - may be affected.

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According to experts, the simple action will reboot the system and disrupt any malware being sent to the router.

Traffic intended for the seized domain is now being redirected to an FBI-controlled domain that captures the IP addresses of infected devices.

The U.S. law enforcement agency urged the owners of many brands of routers to turn them off and on again and download updates from the manufacturer to protect themselves. Those who are using remote management settings on mobile devices are advised to disable them. IoT started with computers, phones and tablets, but quickly has expanded to include voice-over-internet phone services, doorbells, security camera networks, thermostats, connected home devices such as Alexa, and even refrigerators. The group is believed to be directed by Russia's military intelligence.

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Federal Bureau of Investigation urges people to reboot home, office routers to thwart malware attack