Over the past week, the FBI and network equipment manufacturers, like Cisco, have been monitoring a new malware that targets internet routers. This malware called VPNFilter has been identified in at least 500,000 devices and has the potential to collect data and/or render the device inoperable.
As scary as this sounds, there are some simple steps you can take to combat this issue. The FBI recommends rebooting your router, even if it’s not one of the models known to be affected from Linksys, Netgear, or QNAP. A reboot can stop the malware from running and will help stop its propagation to other networks.
Beyond that step, EVAN recommends the following to further secure your network:
- Set a strong administrator password – Most routers ship with a default password of “admin” that should be changed immediately. Choose a memorable but secure password that incorporates symbols, numbers, and a mix of upper and lower-case letters.
- Update your router’s firmware – The firmware is the operating system of the router and will be the primary way manufacturers deploy more permanent solutions to security issues. Here is a great guide that covers most router manufacturers.
- Disable remote management – Most routers will not ship with this enabled, but keeping it disabled is the most secure option. If you have a business case that requires monitoring your network remotely, be sure to use complex usernames and passwords.
UPDATE: ArsTechnica is now reporting that the VPNFilter malware has the potential to reach an additional 200,000 devices. Cisco’s security team, Talos, discovered that VPNFIlter is also compatible with additional router models from the originally identified manufacturers, as well as additional manufacturers like Asus, D-Link, and Mikrotik.
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