VPNFilter malware doubles down in what could be this year's largest attack

VPNFilter malware has affected more than 500,000 routers.                  Chris Monroe  CNET

Based on this new information, Cisco Talos has updated the list of affected devices.

Cisco Talos says the VPNFilter malware now infecting hundreds of thousands of endpoint devices is going after more devices than they initially thought. If you have a router on the list, you're advised to reboot the device immediately and then see if there's a firmware patch available.

A few weeks ago we learned that a piece of sophisticated malware called VPNFilter infected more than 500,000 routers and other devices around the world.

A new report from Cisco Talos on Wednesday confirmed that the VPNFilter malware can bypass the SSL encryption between a server and a client, that on top of its ability to undermine the router up to the point of its unusability.

Dubbed VPNFilter the routers can conduct a man-in-the-middle attack on incoming Web traffic.

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Late last month, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that hackers working for the Russian government had managed to infect roughly 500,000 routers in 54 countries with a particularly-nasty piece of malware known as VPN Filter.

The VPNFilter malware, it was learned, was created to also bypass the SSL encryption commonly used on the web. "But it appears [attackers] have completely evolved past that, and now not only does it allow them to do that, but they can manipulate everything going through the compromised device". Rebooting your router can temporarily remove the router-bricking and spying functions of the malware, but not all the malicious code. They can modify your bank account balance so that it looks normal while at the same time they're siphoning off money and potentially PGP keys and things like that.

VPNFilter, a recently discovered malware that attacks routers and switches, is far more risky than originally thought. "They can manipulate everything going in and out of the device".

And if that's not enough researchers discovered an additional stage 3 module that provides any stage 2 module that lacks a kill command the capability to disable the device. We don't have a lot of intel on that other than it seems incredibly targeted and incredibly sophisticated.

While VPNFilter is mostly targeting routers in Ukraine, suggesting a political motivation, it's strongly recommended that all owners of the affected routers update their firmware or perform a factory reset. You could, for instance, change the login ID and password from the default settings.

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