BBB Advice

by Stephen Mayer

It’s a device many of us use daily. It’s usually out of sight, maybe a bit forgotten, but it provides an important service. We’re talking about your router, and the internet connection it provides.

As if we didn’t have enough cyber threats to worry about these days, it turns out the very tools that provide such an important service could also be putting us at risk.

Better Business Bureau Northwest & Pacific is now advising consumers and small businesses to reboot their routers after the FBI sent out a public service announcement concerning a recent cybersecurity threat.

According to the FBI, cyber scammers have been targeting small home and office routers worldwide using VPNFilter malware, a new IoT threat that unlike other kinds of malware, can’t be erased from a simple reboot. This malware targets routers produced by several manufacturers.

VPNFilter malware is being used by attackers to collect information, block and spy on network traffic, and even completely destroy the device. The malware works in three stages: install, collect files, and spy on traffic. As of now, the initial infection vector for the VPNFilter malware is unknown.

What should you do?

In case your device has already been infected with the VPNFilter malware, the FBI recommends any owner of a small office or home office router to reboot their device now to temporarily disrupt the malware. This will remove stage two and stage three elements on their device, but will not protect them from being reinstalled again by attackers. 

To protect your devices from future attacks, users should update devices with the latest available versions of firmware and consider revising the remote management settings on devices with stronger passwords and encryption. 

For more information about this new threat to small businesses, view the FBI’s official public service announcement at bit.ly/2JpyUB2. 

For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org. If you’ve fallen victim to this or any other cyber attack, report it via BBB’s Scam Tracker tool.

— Stephen Mayer is the Better Business Bureau marketplace manager for Oregon. He can be reached at 971-201-8528 or stephen.mayer@thebbb.org .

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