The Federal Bureau of Investigation is urging consumers to reboot their rooters to prevent a global malware attack from targeting their devices.
The hack has so far compromised ‘hundreds of thousands’ of private, corporate, and government routers worldwide, according to the bureau.
The malware dubbed ‘VPNFilter’ is believed to stem from Russia. It is very invasive as it can collect data, monitor or block web traffic, and lock devices altogether. The FBI issued the warning Friday in a PSA.
The group behind the virus is called the “Sofacy” or “fancy bear,” among other monikers. The group has been operating over the last decade and its favorite targets are security organizations, military facilities, and government agencies. They are interested in anything that has an “intelligence value,” the U.S. Department of Justice noted.
Sofacy is believed to be behind the major hack of the Democratic National Committee’s servers during the last presidential campaign. Around 50 countries reported having found VPNFilter on local devices.
Hundreds of Thousands of Routers Affected Worldwide
FBI’s cyber analysts found that VPNFilter is exploiting a vulnerability in the routers and NAS devices produced by several manufacturers. Cisco’s Talos Intelligence Group confirmed that the attack targeted 500,000 routers in over 50 countries globally.
The routers that are more likely to be affected are those produced by TP-Link, Linksys, Netgear, and MikroTik.
Talos reported that the virus can knock a router out of service and infect nearby devices. It can cut internet access to hundreds of thousands of routers worldwide.
Experts believe that the Russian group has been targeting especially Ukraine, with some private companies and state bodies being constantly under attack for more than a year. The attacks led to a blackout and caused damages of hundreds of millions of dollars. Russia, though, denied any involvement in the attacks.
Rebooting a router can make the malware’s life a little bit harder but it won’t wipe it. FBI recommends unplugging the router for one minute before switching it back on.
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