It's been nearly two weeks since the FBI, in conjunction with other federal and security agencies, released a public service announcement regarding computer and internet technology safety. According to FBI Public Service Announcement I-052518, “Foreign cyber actors have compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and other networked devices worldwide. The actors used VPNFilter malware to target small office and home office routers. The malware is able to perform multiple functions, including possible information collection, device exploitation, and blocking network traffic.”
Rob Thomas is the Owner of DTE Technologies, a local IT firm specializing in computer networking and repair. As a guest on Monday's What's on Your Mind program, Thomas discussed this report released by the FBI and what the “foreign cyber actors” accomplished to cause the FBI to release this report.
"There was a giant notice that went out from a lot of security experts. They highly recommend walking over to your router and camera, your internet of things, unplug it, count to three, and plug it back in. They [the foreign cyber actors] have figured out a way to cache the information that comes out of your routers to be able to send poison data, which can send you to places you don't want to go unwillingly. This malware can help them take your identity to bank accounts, everything."
According to Thomas, you can protect your network's security with one simple action.
"The easiest thing to do for your average home user is walk up, unplug the power, count to three, plug it back in, wait a minute and you should be good to go. The router builds up history of what you do. What the reboot does is it flushes that cache out, what the router holds for you. It gets rid of all of that, makes it download a new DNS list, makes it look for firmware upgrades. And also, if you go online and your browser says, 'Hey, your router needs to be upgraded, follow the steps and upgrade it. It's two or three clicks and you're done. A lot of routers that you go out and buy automatically tell you, 'Hey, there's an upgrade'. It'll pop a ribbon right at the top of your internet browser."
Thomas says that common sense is key in recognizing when fake notifications appear on your computer screen.
“If you don't know, if you're not completely sure, don't do it. Just don't. If it's a legitimate update or a legitimate fix, it will keep coming up the exact same way. It won't pop up in your internet browser and then show up on your desktop. It will appear to you the same way every time."
To listen to our entire conversation with Rob Thomas, head to the What's On Your Mind section right here at WLDS.com under the news tab.