Federal Bureau of Investigation urges people to reboot home, office routers to thwart malware attack

Mae Love
May 29, 2018

The malware is able to collect information, exploit devices, block network traffic and render routers inoperable. Now that the domain is under Federal Bureau of Investigation control, any attempts by the malware to reinfect a compromised router will be bounced to an Federal Bureau of Investigation server that can record the IP address of the affected device.

It could also give hackers access to personal information or even disable the router.

The FBI is trying to thwart a malware system linked to Russian Federation that has infected hundreds of thousands of internet routers, and they're asking for help. Talos, the threat intelligence agency for Cisco, estimated that 500,000 devices in 54 countries have been infected. Rebooting will disable the malware only temporarily, but that's OK: The bureau has seized a key web domain connected with the attack and will be able to detect the IP address of routers that hackers are attempting to re-infect.

Rebooting a router clears the "advanced" stages of VPNFilter from a device, but the first stage remains in place.

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The FBI has already identified how the hackers got into the routers.

The country also blamed Russian Federation for last June's NotPetya attacks that mostly affected Ukraine organizations but also spread within multinational corporations with offices in Ukraine. Users are also advised to upgrade the device's firmware and to select a new secure password.

As we noted last Thursday, a reboot only removes part of the infection: the infected device will still try to contact command and control servers.

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