We talk a lot about software designed to attack our smartphones and computers, but it turns out your router might also be at risk. That’s right. Some dangerous new malware is going after the box you use to beam internet around your home or office.
Here’s what you need to know about the malware and how to keep your router protected.
VPNFilter is a new type of malware designed specifically to target internet routers. It’s capable of collecting communication information from your router, attacking other computers, and destroying your device remotely. According to Cisco, the malware has already infected over 500,000 routers around the world.
Not all routers are susceptible to VPNFilter, but a few of the major brands are at risk. Here’s the full list of devices (via Ars Technica):
- Linksys E1200
- Linksys E2500
- Linksys WRVS4400N
- Mikrotik RouterOS for Cloud Core Routers: Versions 1016, 1036, and 1072
- Netgear DGN2200
- Netgear R6400
- Netgear R7000
- Netgear R8000
- Netgear WNR1000
- Netgear WNR2000
- QNAP TS251
- QNAP TS439 Pro
- Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software
- TP-Link R600VPN
How to remove it
There’s no easy way to check if your router is already infected, but if your model is included in the list above, you shouldn’t take any risks. The easiest (and only) way to fully remove VPNFilter is to do a factory reset. Typically, that involves pressing down the power button for 5-10 seconds, but you may want to double check based for your specific router model.
If you don’t want to do a full factory reset (which can clear important data from the device), you can also simply reboot your router. This won’t kill VPNFilter entirely, but it will drop the malware back to its initial stage and buy you some time.
How to protect yourself
Once you’ve wiped your router, there are few ways to keep yourself protected moving forward.
First, make sure you’re running the latest firmware by logging into your router account in an internet browser and checking for updates. You should also change the admin password for an extra layer of protection.
Finally, make sure that remote management is turned off. This will block hackers from controlling your router without your permission. That should keep you safe from any future malware attacks as well.