FBI: Reboot Your Router To Thwart Russian Malware

There’s been plenty of discussion recently about Russian-backed malware that has reportedly infected hundreds of thousands of routers around the globe. And now the FBI has issued a formal recommendation to reboot your own home router, for protection from said malware.

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In a public service announcement from late last week, the FBI “recommends any owner of small office and home office routers power cycle (reboot) the devices” to block the Russian-backed VPNFilter malware. The FBI claims the malware targets home and small office routers. VPNFilter malware can collect information, exploit devices, and block network traffic. Routers can also be rendered inoperable by this malware.

Rebooting a router will disrupt the malware, the FBI says. Users should then upgrade their routers to the latest malware, and secure their routers with a strong password. Remote management settings on these routers should also be switched off.

Cisco’s Talos security researchers recently posted about the VPNFilter malware on the Talos Intelligence blog. The post claims that at least 500,000 devices have been infected by the malware in 54 countries.

Known Routers, Known Fixes

According to Talos, “the known devices affected by VPNFilter are Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR and TP-Link networking equipment in the small and home office (SOHO) space, as well at QNAP network-attached storage (NAS) devices.”

It’s unclear if any other routers have been affected at all by VPNFilter — this is only what’s been discovered by now. Talos says internet service providers should “work aggressively with their customers to ensure their devices are patched to the most recent firmware/software versions.”

If you’re unsure how to reboot your router, it may be done with a physical button on the device, but another typical way is the simple method you’ve probably heard before — unplug your router, wait for at least 30 seconds, and then plug it back in again.

H/T The New York Times

Phil Dzikiy

Phil Dzikiy

Phil Dzikiy is the former editor in chief of Security Baron. Before, he has worked as a freelance writer and editor at websites like Wirecutter.com and iLounge.com along with publications like the Lockport Union Sun & Journal and the Greater Niagara Newspapers. With digital and print experience under his belt, Phil has a passion for all things technology including home security, cyber security, and the smart home. His bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland College Park initially landed Phil his first job at the Beaver County Times, which has lead to over 15 years of experience as a journalist.

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