“FBI guy” as a joke and meme that has flooded the internet at times. Now, the joke seems to have turned into reality because the FBI is asking people to restart their WiFi routers immediately. According to an announcement, our WiFi routers have been invaded by “foreign cyber actors” whose actions could compromise our internet security and much more than that.
The announcement in which the FBI recommends that internet users power off and on their routers came via a public service announcement published last week. The FBI believes that the WiFi router reboot will help the government reduce and eventually destroy malware that came from what is believed to be a Russian hacking group called Sofacy.
“The size and scope of the infrastructure impacted by VPNFilter malware is significant. The malware targets routers produced by several manufacturers and network-attached storage devices by at least one manufacturer. The initial infection vector for this malware is currently unknown,” it says in the FBI announcement.
But how can restarting our routers help? Also, how will, according to the FBI, restarting the router fix all the problems with the internet security? As the FBI explains, if a router is infected with the VPNFilter, which is a malware that attacks the router and takes over the control of it, it allows hackers to do anything they want, including spying on router users. However, the reboot will expose the installation package alone, and when the install package tries to download the new package, the FBI can trace that, as they have now seized control of that domain set up by the hackers.
“Although devices will remain vulnerable to reinfection with the second stage malware while connected to the Internet, these efforts maximize opportunities to identify and remediate the infection worldwide in the time available before Sofacy actors learn of the vulnerability in their command-and-control infrastructure,” was written on the Department of Justice website.
This is why it’s of the greatest importance to restart your WiFi router as soon as possible in order to prevent the spreading of a malicious malware that collects everything that goes through the router as well as compromises your cyber security. It is also advisable to check for the updated version of firmware on your router.