Story image

Advice: FBI urges people to reboot their routers following Russia attack

01 Jun 2018

The FBI recently issued a plea for people around the world to turn their routers off and back on again.

According to the statement, this is to help put a stop to the spread of a dangerous piece of Russian malware that has already infected more than 500,000 routers in at least 54 countries.

“The actors used VPNFilter malware to target small office and home office routers. The malware is able to perform multiple functions, including possible information collection, device exploitation, and blocking network traffic,” the statement read.

By rebooting your router – in addition to updating the devices and ensuring passwords are safe – the problem could not only be fixed but also allow authorities to track down where the attack actually came from.

The Justice Department obtained a court order last week that allowed the FBI to take control of a website that the hackers had allegedly planned to use to give instructions to the infected routers – in doing so, the authorities also revealed the hackers involved were in a group called Sofacy (also known as APT28 and Fancy Bear) that answered to the Russian government.

Vectra EMEA director Matt Walmsley says with all the stories constantly emerging of routers being compromised by foreign nation states, we see yet again that consumer-grade devices are being targeted, compromised and potentially weaponised.

“Consumers are often ill-equipped to manage their local cyber security, they should at the very least power cycle their devices and ensure they have updated to the latest firmware. Enterprises also need to ensure they don’t leave the door wide open and should take another look at how they’re securing their network infrastructure,” says Walmsley.

“No software is perfect so make sure you’re up-to-date with software updates and patches for your network infrastructure. Then make sure you’re not exposing your equipment’s management interfaces and ensure you have changed the default admin credentials. For perimeter devices with internet connectivity this is doubly important. This may seem like ‘cybersecurity 101’ advice but recently default settings in some Cisco switches allowed over 168,000 devices exposed to the internet to be identified as vulnerable to illicit remote command execution via an admin protocol.”

Walmsley says that ‘firmware may not be that firm’ as advanced attackers will seek to compromise the underlying firmware of their target platform.

“Even if you have robust OS level security controls, threats such as Sub-OS rootkits will remain undetected. However, with recent advances in AI-based behaviour threat detection, we can now spot in real-time the very subtle signals attackers use to perform command & control (C2) orchestration to devices that have compromised firmware by looking for the attacker’s “knocking” signals hidden within legitimate communications,” says Walmsley.

“With that actionable insight, platforms can be completely reset and their firmware, OS images, and configs reloaded from known good sources.”

Enterprise cloud deployments being exploited by cybercriminals
A new report has revealed a concerning number of enterprises still believe security is the responsibility of the cloud service provider.
Ping Identity Platform updated with new CX and IT automation
The new versions improve the user and administrative experience, while also aiming to meet enterprise needs to operate quickly and purposefully.
Venafi and nCipher Security partner on machine identity protection
Cryptographic keys serve as machine identities and are the foundation of enterprise information technology systems.
Machine learning is a tool and the bad guys are using it
KPMG NZ’s CIO and ESET’s CTO spoke at a recent cybersecurity conference about how machine learning and data analytics are not to be feared, but used.
Popular Android apps track users and violate Google's policies
Google has reportedly taken action against some of the violators.
How blockchain could help stop video piracy in its tracks
An Australian video tech firm has successfully tested a blockchain trial that could end up being a welcome relief for video creators and the fight against video piracy.
IBM X-Force Red & Qualys introduce automated patching
IBM X-Force Red and Qualys are declaring a war on unpatched systems, and they believe automation is the answer.
Micro Focus acquires Interset to improve predictive analytics
Interset utilises user and entity behavioural analytics (UEBA) and machine learning to give security professionals what they need to execute threat detection analysis.