A potent malware system linked to Russia that's infected hundreds of thousands of internet routers has the F.B.I. issuing a warning to everyone who has one: Turn your router completely off and then turn it on again.
According to the bureau, the malware system can disrupt web traffic, collect information that passes through home and office routers and can even disable the devices entirely according to a statement released by the agency Friday.
The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers power cycle (reboot) the devices. Foreign cyber actors have compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and other networked devices worldwide. The actors used VPNFilter malware to target small office and home office routers. The malware is able to perform multiple functions, including possible information collection, device exploitation, and blocking network traffic.
All you have to do to help stop the spread of the malware is reboot your internet router by turning off the power, and then turning it back on again.
The F.B.I. also recommends users update their device's firmware and create a new password for the device. Any remote-management settings should be disabled as well if those are being used the bureau said.
The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers reboot the devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid the potential identification of infected devices. Owners are advised to consider disabling remote management settings on devices and secure with strong passwords and encryption when enabled. Network devices should be upgraded to the latest available versions of firmware.
At least 500,000 routers in 54 countries have been infected by malware that researchers are calling VPNFilter.
VPNFilter is able to render small office and home office routers inoperable. The malware can potentially also collect information passing through the router. Detection and analysis of the malware’s network activity is complicated by its use of encryption and misattributable networks.
Experts warn that the threats posed by VPNFilter go beyond having your personal password compromised. An attack could have global reach that could render infected devices unusable.