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F.B.I.’s Urgent Request: Reboot Your Router to Stop Russia-Linked Malware

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RNCollins

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FBI’s Urgent Request: Reboot Your Router to stop Russia-Linked Malware
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/27/...h_180528&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=684898650528

The New York Times/ Louis Lucero II / May 27, 2018

“Hoping to thwart a sophisticated malware system linked to Russia that has infected hundreds of thousands of internet routers, the F.B.I. has made an urgent request to anybody with one of the devices: Turn it off, and then turn it back on.

The malware is capable of blocking web traffic, collecting information that passes through home and office routers, and disabling the devices entirely, the bureau announced on Friday.

A global network of hundreds of thousands of routers is already under the control of the Sofacy Group, the Justice Department said last week. That group, which is also known as A.P.T. 28 and Fancy Bear and believed to be directed by Russia’s military intelligence agency, hacked the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2016 presidential election, according to American and European intelligence agencies.

The F.B.I. has several recommendations for any owner of a small office or home office router. The simplest thing to do is reboot the device, which will temporarily disrupt the malware if it is present. Users are also advised to upgrade the device’s firmware and to select a new secure password. If any remote-management settings are in place, the F.B.I. suggests disabling them....”

5C40FAA0-1ABD-48A7-B63E-6069B661B1F0.jpeg

Photo Credit: Ozier Muhammad / The New York Times
An analysis by Cisco’s threat intelligence division found that hundreds of thousands of routers, from a range of manufacturers, were infected by the malware linked to the hacking group Fancy Bear.
 

x3 skier

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Gee, the power failure I had last week has a silver lining!

Cheers
 

Passepartout

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The reboot solution is just temporary. Updating your computer's firmware and changing passwords is better.

It seems that 'You Know Who' will stop at nothing to infiltrate every segment of American life.

Jim
 

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For those who may have missed it, FBI announcement . Major Russian malware attack ongoing, a number of vulnerable home routers. If you have firmware updates, time to apply as well. If not, monitor for a while and any decent company should come up with an update soon.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/27/technology/router-fbi-reboot-malware.html

Sorry, I looked and did not see a thread already existed, this post was merged.

Update firmware when you can, reboot for now anyway, don't allow wan access if possible to your router admin.
 
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BJRSanDiego

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The reboot solution is just temporary. Updating your computer's firmware and changing passwords is better.

It seems that 'You Know Who' will stop at nothing to infiltrate every segment of American life.

Jim

How do I update my ROUTER's (not computer's) firmware ? I know how to reboot the router and also how to reset it to factory settings/firmware. I presume that if I reset it to the factory settings that it will automatically update itself with the various firewall and other firmware releases that were made since I first bought it.

Is this all I have to do to update the router? Reset to original factory settings and sit back and let it update itself?
 

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How do I update my ROUTER's (not computer's) firmware ?

When you login to your router there should be an option to check if any firmware updates are available. When selected it will go out to the routers web site and check, if updates are available you'll then have the option to download and install them.
 

Passepartout

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Usually there is a sticker on your router with it's UP address. Enter that in your browsers search window. That should give you the option of updating it's firmware. For step by step instructions do a Google or Bing search for your brand of router.
'update ________(brand) router firmware.'

Jim
 

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How do I update my ROUTER's (not computer's) firmware ? I know how to reboot the router and also how to reset it to factory settings/firmware. I presume that if I reset it to the factory settings that it will automatically update itself with the various firewall and other firmware releases that were made since I first bought it.

Is this all I have to do to update the router? Reset to original factory settings and sit back and let it update itself?

Do NOT reset to factory settings, any settings you changed, passwords, wifi access, etc will go away and back to default. What router make and model do you have?
 

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The reboot solution is just temporary. Updating your computer's firmware and changing passwords is better.
Unfortunately, my excellent Western Digital router is an orphan as WD got out of the router business years ago. I have their latest update which is from 2012.
 

Passepartout

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Unfortunately, my excellent Western Digital router is an orphan as WD got out of the router business years ago. I have their latest update which is from 2012.
Maybe, just maybe, it's time to consider giving it a well earned retirement. On the other hand, maybe it pre-dated digital bamboozlery. If the Russkies were targeting adding machines, and you used an abacus, no problems!
 

BJRSanDiego

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Do NOT reset to factory settings, any settings you changed, passwords, wifi access, etc will go away and back to default. What router make and model do you have?

Steve et al,
I've been doing some investigation and on-line searching along the lines of the suggestions you folks made. For my model of 2wire (Pace) gateway, I had trouble figuring out what the most current software version should be. Surprisingly on the tech support links to Pace/2wire, updating firmware wasn't an option. Some of the on-line links described the steps needed to be followed but when I tried to follow them, they didn't work. I also logged on to my router and it wasn't an option to download newer firmware. On an AT&T link, I read the following: "If you're using an AT&T gateway, you should already be on the most current firmware. AT&T updates all of the gateways. You are most likely using the firmware that is current." Another site said something similar except it mentioned that AT&T "pushes" the updates down.
So maybe I'm safe for the time being.
 

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BJRSanDiego, you are correct, At&t usually updates those routers. Some internet providers supply or rent equipment. In those cases, it’s still their device so they typically manage it.
 

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Please forgive my admitted technological ignorance, but I will boldly step forward to demonstrate it once again anyhow...

It's easy to "reboot" a router; I did that immediately after seeing this thread yesterday.
I will next separately look further into updating the router firmware (...wish me luck).

What I do not even begin to understand is how or why a "reboot" of the router is of any use or value as a protective measure against the issue under discussion. Doesn't a "reboot" simply restore the router to exactly where it was before the reboot and, if so, what is the point or purpose of the reboot anyhow? :shrug::confused::shrug:
 

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The semi technical explanation is in my post above, #4, click on the link. Read near the end. It does help to reboot.
 
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theo

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On an AT&T link, I read the following: "If you're using an AT&T gateway, you should already be on the most current firmware. AT&T updates all of the gateways. You are most likely using the firmware that is current." Another site said something similar except it mentioned that AT&T "pushes" the updates down.

Verizon tech support folks make that same claim for their FIOS / routers. :shrug:
 

WinniWoman

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Gee, the power failure I had last week has a silver lining!

Cheers


I just said the same to my husband. We lose power so often the modem constantly reboots! LOL!
But ours is a rented router anyway.
 

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This is exactly why I own my own modem and router. Not only does it save money and provide me with much better equipment, it allows me to quickly apply firmware updates and manage my own security.

Kurt
 

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... what is the point or purpose of the reboot anyhow?

For this particular threat, known as VPNFilter, my understanding from what I've read is it works like this:

This all starts with a "stage 1" infection. The primary purpose of this stage is to locate a "Command and control" web server run by the bad guys, and download and install the rest of the malware (i.e. stage 2) from there. The server involved has been identified as toknowall(dot)com. Stage 1 survives a reboot, but stage 2 does not, so stage 1 also periodically reconnects to keep stage 2 installed and up-to-date.

The full capabilities of stage 2, if present, are still being investigated. Several variants have been found. Known capabilities are that it can respond to trigger commands from the bad guys to 1) spy on traffic going through the router, and/or 2) render the router useless by deleting or overwriting part of the router's firmware then rebooting.

Stage 2 is also capable of downloading additional stage 3 plugins to add additional capabilities.

The FBI has now taken control of the toknowall(dot)com server so it can no longer download and reinstall stages 2 or 3. That's why a simple reboot that erases stages 2 and 3 breaks the chain for this particular malware, at least for now.
 

theo

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Doug:
Thanks for the above explanation; the article cited didn't really provide much insight. :thumbup:
 

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Those of us who are not tech savvy are doomed. We are having Xfinity install our new stuff today, TV, voice, internet. It will save us a bundle, and we will have a new router/modem. We already bought it. I guess this tech will know how to get it installed and get the firmware updates.
 
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