Federal Bureau of Investigation urges people to reboot home routers

Federal Bureau of Investigation urges people to reboot home routers

FBI Kansas City tweeted Tuesday a warning of small office and home office routers: reboot them to fend off foreign cyber actors.

VPNFilter allows outside hackers to monitor or block web traffic, steal your data, and even permanently disable the router, says the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"The FBI recommends any owner of small office and home office routers power cycle (reboot) the devices".

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It could also give hackers access to personal information or even disable the router. So far, it's estimated that 500,000 devices - mostly from the Ukraine - have been affected. Turning the router on and off temporarily disrupts the malware and erases parts of it, though the router can be reinfected.

Cisco Talos listed the definitively affected routers as the Linksys E1200, E2500 and WRVS4400N; the Netgear DGN2200, R6400, R7000, R8000, WNR1000 and WNR2000; and the TP-Link TL-R600VPN SafeStream VPN router. The group is notorious for attacking governments across the world and stealing confidential files from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election. Visit your router manufacturer's website for additional information. "They're created to be remotely accessed, so in a sense, these are houses with front doors where they may be locked but they're not locked as securely as we might like them to be because they have to things - bytes - in and out", said technology analyst Larry Magid.

Rebooting is a pretty easy process, usually requiring little more than holding down a reset button on the router, CNET explains.

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If there's an update available for your router, you should install that update, too.

The FBI suggests that you consider disabling your router's remote management features.

Cisco's analysis found that VPNFilter has a two-stage infection process, with the first stage being capable of surviving a reboot.

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