New VPNFilter Malware Contains Kill Switch, Infects Over 500,000 Devices

By on May 23, 2018

Routers are the driving force behind a lot of our modern-day internet use. They power our Wi-Fi, and therefore our internet-connected devices. We rely on them day in and out, entrusting them with some of our most personal information. So when they’re attacked, it can be cause for concern. Just today, that precise scenario has come to life, as it has been discovered that more than half a million routers and storage devices in dozens of countries have been infected with a piece of highly sophisticated IoT botnet malware called VPNFilter.

Named after the directory the malware uses to hide on an infected device, VPNFilter first makes its way into a device through a reboot. Once it’s inside, it gains a foothold on the infected device and then deploys the malware.

VPNFilter has been designed with versatile capabilities, it attacks routers and other network-connected devices in order to steal credentials and other information exchanged across the network. It even contains a kill switch for routers, which means an attack could stop internet access for any devices tapping into that router.

So far, over 500,000 devices have been infected by the malware in over 54 countries. Therefore, with this attack spreading rapidly, it’s important to take security steps immediately in order to stay protected from VPNFilter. To do just that, follow these tips:

  • Update your router’s firmware. Router manufacturers are already working to make patches that will help protect users against this malware. Therefore, make sure you regularly update your router’s firmware, as these fixes are typically included within each update.
  • Be careful with what information you share. Since this malware can steal the data exchanged across your Wi-Fi network, it’s crucial you get selective with the information you do share for the time being. This means personal details, such as addresses, personally identifiable information, and financial data.  Use comprehensive security. Even though this attack largely goes after routers, it’s important you still lock down all your devices with an extra layer of security. To do just that, use a comprehensive solution such as McAfee Total Protection.

And, of course, to stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats, be sure to follow me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, listen to our podcast Hackable? and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


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About the Author

Gary Davis

Gary Davis was previously McAfee's Consumer Security Evangelist providing security education and advice to businesses and consumers. He is a sought-after speaker on trends in digital security, appearing at conferences and events, as well as security and consumer lifestyle broadcast outlets and publications such as ABC, NBC, FOX, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Money ...

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