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Could Your Router be Infected with Malware?

Could Your Router be Infected with Malware?

Certain threats out there are dangerous enough to cause major entities to warn against them. In particular, a recent malware by the name of VPNFilter has been deemed dangerous and prevalent enough that the FBI has addressed it. Since the malware targets routers (probably not your first guess in terms of possible vulnerabilities), it has considerable potential to become a nuisance for your organization.

Understanding VPNFilter
VPNFilter is a malware that hides in your router and remains even if you restart the device. VPNFilter is known for prioritizing devices in Ukraine, but you should never count on the trend to protect you from known threats. It’s thought that the VPNFilter malware has its roots in a group called Sofacy, and the malware operates in three basic steps.

The first step for this malware is that it installs itself on the device and remains there even in the event that the router is rebooted or turned off. Second, the malware will install certain permissions on the router that allows it to change settings, manage files, and execute commands. The router can then proceed to brick itself, making it much more difficult for your organization to keep operations moving along. In its final stages, this malware lets a hacker see the data packets that are being sent to and from your organization’s device, meaning that they can then also issue commands and communicate with the device via a Tor web browser.

This threat was specifically mentioned by the FBI because of its persistence. While resetting the device will disable the second and third steps, the first will remain, creating an endless cycle if you don’t do anything about it.

Is Your Router Affected?
Even though not all routers are affected, the number is still quite considerable. Here is a list of affected brands:

  • Asus
  • D-Link
  • Huawei
  • Linksys
  • MikroTik
  • Netgear
  • TP-Link
  • Ubiquiti
  • Upvel
  • ZTE

If you would like a more comprehensive list of all affected devices, Symantec has a list on their website: https://www.symantec.com/blogs/threat-intelligence/vpnfilter-iot-malware

How You Fix It
There is an easy first step to fixing VPNFilter, and it's to apply any patches or security updates designed by the hardware manufacturer to resolve the vulnerability. If you would like our help to protect your business's firewall, just let us know. If you are an Agilitec client, rest assured knowing we monitor all client routers for malware and apply patches as they are made available.

For more great updates and tech tips, be sure to subscribe to Agilitec IT’s blog.

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