The Federal Bureau of Investigation has warned consumers to reboot their wireless internet routers in order to help fend off a major cyberattack.
The FBI recommends that consumers reboot their routers and install new software patches to avoid a malware attack called VPNFilter, which can be used to steal data or order routers to “self-destruct,” according to a Boston Globe report. VPNFilter has infected about half a million devices in more than 50 countries, including the United States, the Globe reported.
The FBI has traced the malware to an outlaw group linked to Russian military intelligence – the same group blamed for hacking the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 presidential campaign, the Globe reported.
VPNFilter is capable of stealing critical files or even knocking entire networks offline. The FBI is attempting to pre-empt a damaging attack by taking down the program’s infrastructure, according to the Globe. Owners of routers and other devices infected by the malware are instructed to visit the website “toknowall.com,” where they can receive attack instructions. The FBI has seized that address and taken it offline, the Globe reported. However, thousands of routers are still infected by the original malware.
The issue is, many people don’t know how to update their router’s software. The best strategy, according to the Globe, is to look up the router’s brand, model and serial numbers, find its default password, then log on to its internal control software and download a patch from the company’s software.