As you probably heard by now, on May 25th FBI released a note about over 500,000 routers were infected with malware (VPNFilter malware), which can be used to collect personal information, launch attacks on other devices, and even permanently destroying the device. It has been around since 2007, and it has been detected in more that 54 countries.
The main targeted devices for this hacking campaign were from Belkin’s Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, TP-Link, and QNAP. Although other brands may be affected as well.
So, what can you do to remove it? or to prevent infection? Several brands and models have been infected, so these are some general steps you should do to your routers (any brand):
- Update the router. Make sure you upgrade to the latest Router Operating System available. In order to do this, you’ll need to connect to your router directly via a browser or using the manufacturer’s setup tool.
- Change the default password. Make sure you change the default password for the router. Most routers have default username and passwords to be used during the initial configuration, and the setup process guides you to change it after completion. However, most users just connect the router without making any changes to configuration.
- Disable external access to manage the router. This is a very common setting, and some devices have it enabled by default for support purposes. If you router has the option, make sure it is disabled.
- As a general recommendation, always try to use HTTPS when browsing. You would normally use HTTP:// to access a website but, if the website is enabled, using HTTPS:// will increase the security as it encrypts your browsing sessions end to end; this can help prevent any 3rd party from accessing your information.
- Reset the device to factory defaults. If after all previous suggestions, you still think your network is acting different, or it is slow, etc., resetting the device to factory defaults will be your safest option. This malware is very persistent, so this may be the best option.
While we believe having a home router is recommended for many reasons, including privacy, flexibility, and security, We also understand that the setup process may be complicated for many users. If you have any concerns or need any help, feel free to contact us at any of our locations or via email.