The Russians have long been our nemesis here in the US. Whether is was Communist vs. Capitalist, Olympic men’s hockey or basketball or even the various proxy wars that the two sides have fought, Russia has been a dominant force in our political landscape. That is even more true today (and we’re not talking about the late-presidential election) but instead Russia’s greatest weapon, its cyber warriors and they are coming after the data that passes through your router at home and in your office.

No doubt you have seen the latest threat, but if you haven’t here you go. Russian hackers have allegedly infected hundreds of thousands of home and office routers with malware according to the FBI. The FBI’s advice is to reboot the router, or pull the power plug from the back and plug it back in after about 30 seconds. If you haven’t done this it would be a good idea to do so (and even if you don’t think you need to these devices do need to be rebooted every so often anyway so why not do it?).

The malware is designed to collect personal information from whatever passes through the router. What this information will be used for is anyone’s guess. It could be used for blackmail or for cyber crimes like identity theft or just to sell to someone else. There is no way to tell if your router has been infected as the infection affects more than one brand though it is believed that primarily older routers are affected.

Rebooting or power cycling the router is a good first step and can potentially sever the link that the malware uses, though this may not remove the infection. Only a factory reset can do that. This requires hitting a small button on the back that will reset the router to its original settings, which will require you also to set the entire network back up again. Linksys also recommends that the latest firmware be applied before doing a factory reset. Another key piece of advice and one that can potentially avoid this in the future is to change your router’s default password. Most people do not do it and the default password is common knowledge in the tech world. For help doing any of this consult your router’s manual, either a hard copy or one online.

In today’s world where sensitive information is passed around the Internet and with all of the data scandals that have been in the news people should heed this warning and take the appropriate steps. Heed these warnings so that the only Russian that knows your most intimate secrets is a bottle of salad dressing.

Comments are closed.

Scroll to Top