Don’t Take Our Word For It, Listen to the FBI!

May 29, 2018

Cyber Security is always a not topic in the IT world.  It seems like some new security breach, malware or vulnerability is announced.  The latest reveal is that a group of foreign hackers have gained access to several commonly-used brand name routers.  Theses brand names include Netgear, Linksys, and other commonly-used routers and wireless devices in the home.  Fortunately, this issue is contained mostly to home routers.  The fast majority of business-class routers are excluded from this vulnerability.  At the time of this writing the FBI had not determined exactly how the hackers were accessing these routers, but suspected they were using previously announced and existing vulnerabilities.

If the hackers have access to your router, they can perform a number of naughty tasks.  They can monitor your traffic, use your network to attack other networks & even completely disable your router.  This particular type of hack has the unusual ability to initiate a virtual self destruct sequence.  It basically wipes the tiny hard drive inside your router, rendering it useless.  This both serves to cover their tracks and completely disables the routers.  Any devices connected to that router (computers, smartphones, smartTVs, AppleTVs, etc.) would immediately be disconnected from the internet.  The only way to restore internet connectivity would be to replace the device.

How do you protect yourself?

So you’ve got one of these routers in your home, what do you need to do.  The first thing you need to do is restart your router.  Unplug it from it’s power source and plug it back in.  This may very well permanently disconnect the hackers from your system.  The second thing you need to do is update your router’s firmware.  This is the software that runs your router.  Doing this can be a little tricky and you might need to contact the router manufacturer support to get help.  However, for those comfortable enough, you’ll want to login to your router, usually by browsing to, or something along those lines.  You’ll want to navigate to the section of your router where you can update the firmware.  First, be sure to take not of the current firmware version.  Next update the firmware.  Some routers allow you to do this directly from the router.  Others require you to visit the router manufacturer website, download the firmware from there and upload it to the router.  Once you’ve updated the firmware, compare the new firmware version to the previous firmware version to make sure the new firmware version is a higher number.  It’s a good idea to update your router’s firmware every 6 months, no less than once a year.

Sterling Technology Solutions focuses on IT Security & Cyber Security prevention and remediation for our Managed Services Clients as well as One-Time Projects.  Your data security is only as secure as your network.