Wired magazine reports that some home and small business routers have become infested with intrusive code and thus a security menace: “Home routers have become the rats to hackers’ bubonic plague: An easily infected, untreated and ubiquitous population in which dangerous digital attacks can spread.
“Now security researchers are warning that one group of sophisticated hackers has amassed a collection of malware-infected routers that could be used as a powerful tool to spread havoc across the internet, or simply triggered to implode networks across the world.
“Last Wednesday, Cisco’s Talos security division warned of a new breed of malware it calls VPNFilter, which it says has infected at least half a million home and small business routers including those sold by Netgear, TP-Link, Linksys, MicroTik, and QNAP network storage devices. Talos believes that the versatile code is designed to serve as a multipurpose spy tool, and also creates a network of hijacked routers that serve as unwitting VPNs, potentially hiding the attackers’ origin as they carry out other malicious activities.
“Perhaps most disturbingly, they note that the tool also has a destructive feature that would allow the hackers behind it to immediately corrupt the firmware of the entire collection of hacked routers, essentially bricking them.”
This isn’t something necessarily to panic over, but it’s advisable certainly to check out the state of routers on, or under, small business and home desktops.