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Russian hackers are attacking millions of vulnerable routers

Civilian and business routers are the latest targets of large-scale hacking.

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In a joint announcement made Monday by the US Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and UK’s National Cyber Security Center, a statement was made announcing that Russian spies have been, and are currently, looking for vulnerabilities within millions of routers as a way to prepare for a future attack. These were not just security and government routers, but personal and business routers, as well.

The National Security Council cybersecurity coordinator Rob Joyce stated that the targets were within homes and offices, firewalls, switches, critical infrastructure, and private companies. The Russian hackers would scan across the internet for routers and devices for vulnerabilities. If a device could be affected, an alert would pop up and inform the hacker about the make and model of open routers.

From Rob Joyce, National Security Council cybersecurity coordinator,

“We have high confidence Russia has carried out a coordinated campaign to gain access to enterprise, small office/home office routers known as SOHO routers, and residential routers, and the switches and connectors worldwide.”

A technical alert was pushed after the call and stated that Russian hackers were behind the attack, and they took advantage of outdated devices along with routers with weak defenses. Those outdated devices included routers and devices that had a default or no password and devices that were no longer supported. The DHS said that they have seen Russian activity scan for vulnerabilities within the past two years, but there is no way to tell how many devices were affected or attacked. Cyber attacks that are state-sponsored are a massive concern, as hackers often use vulnerabilities to tamper with elections, businesses, and power grids.

Consumers can protect themselves against hacks and attacks like this by keeping their devices updated and password protected. The technical alert recommends users to change any default passwords, and to use different passwords across different devices. If you have a device that is outdated or no longer supported, the DHS recommends that you replace it.

It seems like every week users are being alerted about a new hack or intrusion around the world. I haven’t even recovered from the Facebook data reveal. Please, if you do not want to be affected, change your password and make sure your device is still supported. If you are not sure about your device, check out the manufacturer website for updates. If you are not sure how to update your device, each website usually has a frequently asked section.

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Amanda is a freelance journalist who enjoys naps way too much. I fell in love with video games when I bought my N64 and Goldeneye 007 with my birthday money... it's safe to say that birthday was epic. Let's chat!

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