Last week, security experts discovered that hundreds of thousands of networking devices made by a variety of manufacturers could be infected by malware. This “VPNFilter” cyberthreat has been identified in internet routers, firewalls, and network-attached storage devices, leading the FBI to request that anyone with a residential or consumer-based device reboot it by turning it of and then back on again.
Why? Because the malware, believed to be controlled by hackers linked to Russia, could block web traffic, collect information transmitted through home and office devices, and disable the devices completely, effectively shutting down Internet connections.
So far, more than 500,000 devices in 54 countries have been infected by the malware, affecting products made by companies like Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, and TP-Link. Again, this mostly applies to consumer-grade residential routers and firewalls, not stronger and more secure business-class firewalls and routers.
Federal security analysts at the Justice Department and FBI acted swiftly to minimize disruptions from the malware threat, seizing a web domain known to be part of the hackers’ network so that any attempts to reinfect a clean device would be redirected to government servers that can log the IP address of the troubled device.
A Justice Department spokesman said that, “This court-ordered seizure will assist in the identification of victim devices and disrupts the ability of these hackers to steal personal and other sensitive information and carry out disruptive cyberattacks.”
What can you do to ensure that your device is safe?
1. First things first, contact a trusted IT provider for assistance.
Because different types of routers, firewalls, and devices require different levels of action to combat this malware threat, working with a security expert to assess your technology infrastructure can mitigate existing damage and prevent future infections.
2. If you have a device provided by your internet service provider (ISP)...
Contact them to inquire about their level of protection in regards to VPNFilter. Chances are they will tell you that your device is protected, but it’s worth confirming to be sure. If your provider instructs you to reboot the device by turning it off and back on again, do so as soon as possible.
3. If you have a consumer-grade firewall or router, work with a trusted IT provider to upgrade it, reboot it, and reset it.
CMIT Solutions’ clients benefit from multiple layers of protection around network-connected devices. Our IT solutions packages ensure that the latest firmware version is installed on your device, that strong passwords are used to protect your device, and that any reboot or reset actions can be completed remotely, without disrupting the day-to-day operations of your business and your employees.
4. Upgrade to secure business-grade network devices.
From firewalls to routers to storage devices, the need for businesses to protect their data, their internet traffic, and their systems is critical. Don’t leave your valuable business information up to consumer-grade devices that may not provide the level of protection you deserve. Even more important, don’t leave your day-to-day internet traffic exposed to today’s many cyberthreats, which are often so severe that all it takes is one click on an illicit link or one open of an infected file to lead to data loss, malware infection, and other major security issues.
At CMIT Solutions, we worry about cybersecurity so you don’t have to. Our team of IT experts spread across North America understands the challenges of today’s technology landscape and can take the appropriate action to protect your business, your data, and your employees.
Worried about your internet router or firewall in the wake of the VPNFilter threat? Contact CMIT Solutions today to find out what to do and when to do it.