FBI Tip: Reboot Your Router and Stay Safe Against Russian Malware

Last April, U.S. and U.K. officials issued a warning that Russians were behind a major threat to security through business or home smart devices. While the cyber threat was directed initially towards home and business routers running IoT devices, the attack would eventually move on to a massive scale involving water filtration systems and power lines. Sounding like a page from a spy novel, it sounds unlikely in the post-Cold War era but the FBI followed this up with another warning in late May.

According to Reuters, Russian hackers had breached thousands of home routers in the U.S. and could gather information or even shut down traffic. Some quarters considered this to be another witch hunt, just like what happened with Huawei and ZTE in previous years. In an effort to stem the threat, the FBI shut down a website that would ostensibly be used by the Russian hacker group named Sofacy to beam malicious information affecting about 700,000 routers in homes and businesses across 50 countries. According to FBI most of the susceptible devices were bought online. Cisco Systems Inc. claimed that the targeted routers were from Asus, D-Link, Huawei, Ubiquiti, Upvel, ZTE Linksys, MicroTik, Netgear Inc., TP-link, and QNAP; brands that are extremely popular among home users and favored by Internet providers. Sofacy (aka APT28 and Fancy Bear) was also implicated in hacking the Democratic National Committee in the most recent U.S. Presidential campaign.

According to CISCO, the U.S. is not yet under major attack but that it was the Ukraine that was the ultimate target. In a document shared to both the U.S. and Ukraine governments, it outlined how the malware caused millions in damages in the Ukraine and was behind a major power outage.

“The VPNFilter malware is a multistage, modular platform with versatile capabilities to support both intelligence collection and destructive cyberattack operations.” —  Cisco

This particular VPNFilter malware is hard to detect due to encryption so it is best to be cautious. It has 3 stages and persisting to subsequent stages after a reboot at Stage 1 is possible. This is so different from other malware infecting smart devices which seldom survive a reboot. The FBI suggests rebooting your router and downloading updates to disrupt the malware’s action. Though that cut-off communication, there were still infected routers to deal with. It is strongly advised that remote management settings be disabled and passwords changed regularly.

The size and scope of the infrastructure by VPNFilter malware is significant…capable of rendering peoples’ routers inoperable. – FBI

Experts further recommend resetting of SOHO (small home and office) routers and NAS (network-attached storage) devices to factory defaults aside from simply rebooting. Users should also coordinate with their Internet Providers who can reboot SOHO routers and manufacturers to ensure that the most recent patches are installed.

Is this a modern-day “Hunt for Red October”?

Internet traffic set to quadruple by 2016

The influx of smartphones and tablets has caused a stir in the market place. This boom in the number of mobile Internet devices will cause a rise in Web traffic in the future.

In a study done by the Cisco Visual Networking Index, the global Internet traffic will sky rocket to 1.3 zettabytes or one sextillion bytes by 2016.

According to the study, it will be four times the number that was generated about a year ago and is caused by the proliferation of smartphones and other devices that use the Internet.

Vice president of Cisco, Suraj Shetty said, “Each of us increasingly connects to the network via multiple devices in our always-on connected lifestyles. Whether by video phone calls, movies on tablets, web-enabled TVs, or desktop video conferencing, the sum of our actions not only creates demand for zettabytes of bandwidth, but also dramatically changes the network requirements needed to deliver on the expectations of the new normal.”

The study also highlighted the United Nations report that there will be 3.4 billion Internet users by 2016.

The speed of broadband Internet is also expected to rise, from the normal 9Mbps a year ago to about 34Mbps in 2016.

Image Source: axleration.com

TelyHD: TV video calling through Skype

The idea of a plug and play webcam for your television has crossed the minds of product developers ever since the technological revolution began. Unfortunately, nobody has perfected the technology. Not until now that is.

Tely Labs TelyHD is a high definition easy to use device that can be tied up with everybody’s favorite Video-calling service, Skype.

This is answer a clamor from some individuals who want to use their televisions as a monitor for video calling. Instead of using your laptops and desktop computers for this, you only have to have your television and the TellyHD to enjoy this service.

What’s good about this technology is that Tely doesn’t charge any monthly fees. All you have to do is buy the device and bundle it to your television at home.

Plug it to the latter’s HDMI port and navigating the simple onscreen menus to create or log in to your Skype account.

The TellyHD has a 720p camera. The audio doesn’t come from the latter. It comes from your television’s built in speakers.

The product of the device is loud, clear, consistent audio. The video depends upon the room’s lighting. You can also adjust low-light and backlight conditions through TelyHD’s settings.

It is priced at $250. Well, it’s kinda pricey but hey, if you can afford it then why don’t you pick one.

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