Security researchers in the US have issued a warning of the presence a sophisticated malware that has infected over 500,000 consumer routers across the globe. According to Cisco’s Talos cyberintelligence unit, the malware could enable hackers to get access to the consumer private information on their websites and misuse it for their gains.
The impact is huge since the affected devices can mistakenly spread the virus to other uninfected gadgets.
The Target Is Ukraine
Tech giant, Cisco says that hundreds of thousands of routers have been compromised in preparation for what could be a major cyber attackagainst Ukraine. Talos is suspecting that the Russian government could be working behind the campaign ‘VPNFilter, which is similar to the malware used previouslyin issuing attacks on the US government.
It’s possible that Russia could be preparing to launch the large-scaleattack on Ukraine before the commencement of Champions League football final that will be held in Kiev.
For a long time, Ukraine has repeatedly been hit by severe cyber attacksfrom Russia. For instance, in2017, a cyberattackworm called ‘NotPetya’ stagnated the critical systems in the entire country, major critical services in key areas such as hospitals were affected.
The Affected Routers
The malware attacks are basically used to collect private communications, launching attacks on the vulnerable people and can destroy the affected devices permanently. The latest VPNFilter attack works well on consumer routers supported by TP-Link, MikroTik, Linksys, Netgear, QNAP and other networks.
The researchers are currently advising owners of the smallhome and office routers to reboot and reset their routers to the defaults. Also, the internet service providers should closely work with consumers to ensure that the routers in use are updated with security mechanisms. Also, consumers should protect themselves from the malware by frequently altering their passwords and updating their software.
US Government Takes Initiative To Restore Infected Routers
The US government announced recently that it will seek ways to salvage the infected routers from the hands of the hackers. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been granted a permission to take control of the internet domain that the hackers could be using to issue major attacks on internet users. Cisco has shared the critical data with the US and Ukraine governments and other parties.
However, Russia has denied the assumptions from the cyber security companies including Cisco that it’s behind the immense large-scale hacking initiative and that it has no intention of attacking Ukraine.