The FBI on Friday issued a formal warning about a Russian hacking campaign and asked consumers to reboot their network devices to disrupt malicious software that has already compromised “hundreds of thousands” of personal devices.
A bonnet known as “VPNFilter” is being used to target routers in homes and offices across the country, the FBI said.
“The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers reboot the devices to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid the potential identification of infected devices,” the public alert said.
“Owners are advised to consider disabling remote management settings on devices and secure with strong passwords and encryption when enabled. Network devices should be upgraded to the latest available versions of firmware,” the alert continued.
Internet security researchers said Thursday the VPNFilter has infected an estimated 500,000 consumer routers worldwide.
The same security experts have linked the malware to APT 28 also known as Sofacy, a cyberterrorism group with ties to the Russian government.
A blog post from Cisco’s cyberintelligence unit, Talos, said known devices that have been infected by the VPNFilter malware include manufacturers Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear and TP-Link.
The malware allows hackers to make a router unusable, cutting off Internet access, Talos said.
The Justice Department on Wednesday announced efforts to disrupt a global bonnet targeting the government, military and security organizations.
“These hackers are exploiting vulnerabilities and putting every American’s privacy and network security at risk,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Bob Johnson said in a statement.
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