Small offices, home offices should reboot routers

Piotr Adamowicz

The FBI warned on Friday that some foreign hackers had compromised hundreds of thousands of home and small router devices around the world. VPNFilter reportedly has at least one component that can not be expunged through a simple reboot, making it easier for the user's device to be re-infected.

In obtaining the court order, the Justice Department said the hackers involved were in a group called Sofacy that answered to the Russian government.

Sofacy is the same group believed to be responsible for numerous recent attention-grabbin Russian hacks, such as the hack of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 USA presidential campaign.

"This challenge is augmented by the fact that most of the affected devices have publicly known vulnerabilities which are not convenient for the average user to patch".

There are three stages to VPNFilter - a persistent stage 1 and non-persistent stages 2 and 3.Because of how the malware works, rebooting will clear out stages 2 and 3 and mitigate most problems.

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It's not known at this time how the VPNFilter malware was able to infiltrate small office and home office routers, but once inside a device, it can render it inoperable. The malware can collect communications, attack other computers and even destroy the device it's infecting.

The FBI is warning that hundreds of thousands of home network devices worldwide are being compromised by a sophisticated Russian hacking scheme and the agency is advising owners to reboot these devices in an attempt to disrupt the malicious software. 'Detection and analysis of the malware's network activity is complicated by its use of encryption and misattributable networks'.

People should also consider disabling remote management settings, changing passwords to replace them with more secure ones and upgrading to the latest firmware.

Those with questions about the announcement should contact their local Federal Bureau of Investigation field office.

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