Is your router vulnerable to VPNFilter malware?

The Justice Department last week urged everyone with a small office home office (SOHO) or NAS device to reboot their gadgets immediately in order to thwart VPNFilter, a new strain of malware that can brick your router.

The FBI seized a domain used to send commands to the infected devices, but it can't hurt to reboot anyway.

As Symantec outlines, VPNFilter is "a multi-staged piece of malware." Stage 1 makes the connection, Stage 2 delivers the goods, and Stage 3 acts as plugins for Stage 2. "These include a packet sniffer for spying on traffic that is routed through the device, including theft of website credentials and monitoring of Modbus SCADA protocols. Another Stage 3 module allows Stage 2 to communicate using Tor."

VPNFilter "is unlike most other IoT threats because it is capable of maintaining a persistent presence on an infected device, even after a reboot," Symantec says.

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Still, "rebooting will remove Stage 2 and any Stage 3 elements present on the device, [temporarily removing] the destructive component of VPNFilter. However, if infected, the continuing presence of Stage 1 means that Stages 2 and 3 can be reinstalled by the attackers."

Those who believe they're infected should do a hard reset, which restores factory settings. Look for a small reset button on your device, though this will wipe any credentials you have stored on the device.

Below is a list of routers Symantec identified as vulnerable to VPNFilter. MikroTik tells Symantec that VPNFilter likely proliferated via a bug in MikroTik RouterOS software, which it patched in March 2017. "Upgrading RouterOS software deletes VPNFilter, any other third-party files and patches the vulnerability," Symantec says.

  • 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

"No other vendors, including Cisco, have been observed as infected by VPNFilter, but our research continues," according to Cisco Talos, which first reported the bug.

To date, Cisco Talos estimates that at least 500,000 in at least 54 countries have been hit by VPNFilter.

The feds are pinning this attack on Fancy Bear, a hacking group also known as APT28 and Sofacy Group, among other monikers. The group is notorious for attacking governments across the world and stealing confidential files from the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election.

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