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 FBI urges broadband users to take urgent action to defeat Russian malware already infecting WiFi routers worldwide

Robin Bowman

Robin Bowman
May 30, 2018

America’s premier law enforcement agency, the FBI, has issued a warning for everyone to urgently reboot their broadband routers.

They have discovered that thousands of the devices worldwide are infected with powerful Russian malware.

The malware can link routers under its control and use them to unlock secure information, monitor people's internet activity, and even to shut down their internet .

Turning off the routers and then switching them back again, plus updating the devices, and making sure you have a strong password, can help disarm the malware, at least temporarily. It can also help the authorities discover the extent of the problem.

In a statement released on the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), officials say the malware, called VPNFilter, is able to collect information, control devices, and block network traffic.

VPNFilter can also render routers useless, and can potentially collect information passing through the router.

54 countries

It’s believed VPNFilter may have targeted at least 500,000 routers in at least 54 countries. Some of the devices known to be infected are manufactured by Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, and TP-Link.

In a statement, router manufacturer Netgear said it is aware the malware might target their routers, but said their understanding is that firmware updates already issued will close their routers’ vulnerabilities.

TP-Link officials say they know the malware targets one of their routers, and are investigating. Meanwhile, they say users of their products should install the latest updates, and change their the default admin password.

The FBI officials recommends rebooting devices to temporarily disrupt the malware, and help with the potential identification of infected devices.

Router owners are also advised to consider disabling remote management settings on devices, and use strong passwords. Also, all devices should be updated to the latest versions of firmware.


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