One week ago, as many were preparing for the Memorial Day holiday, the FBI issued a warning about malware that it believed came from Russian state-sponsored hackers and had infected hundreds of thousands of home and small business routers. The threat of the malware is at least twofold. First, the malware could render the router inoperable, disconnecting you from the internet. Second, and perhaps more troublingly, the malware could spy on you by collecting information passing through the router.

To help disrupt this attack and provide some protection, the FBI requested that owners reboot their routers. See the FBI’s PSA and also an article from The Washington Post. The reboot process is simple, unplug the router’s power cord and plug it back in a few seconds later. While the reboot will disrupt the malware, the only way to fully remove it is through a factory reset, which is simple, but somewhat tedious because you must then reconfigure all of your network settings. For more detail, see articles from Cnet and Krebs on Security.

Besides taking the steps discussed above, users should also consider other steps that help secure their home networks, including:

  • Ensuring that router firmware is up-to-date
  • Changing the router login credentials from the factory defaults (remember to use a unique, secure password)
  • Removing network services that are unnecessary (ones that you don’t use)
  • Enabling encryption if available
  • Disabling remote management settings

Check out our series, Privacy Perils, to learn what steps you can take to guard your personal and company data. For more information about this topic and other cyber security concerns, please contact a member of our Privacy & Data Security team.