According to a public service announcement from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, foreign cyber actors have potentially compromised hundreds of thousands of routers and networked devices all over the world using VPNFilter malware. "The law enforcement agency said foreign cyber actors are targeting routers in small or home offices with a botnet - or a network of infected devices â€" known as VPNFilter.
'The group, which has been operating since at least in or about 2007, targets government, military, security organizations, and other targets of perceived intelligence value, ' the DOJ said in a press released on Wednesday.
The same group was allegedly responsible for the hack of emails from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, and has been strongly linked to the Russian government.
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Talos said in its report that it noted a "sharp spike" on 8 May 2018 in the amount of devices infected with VPNFilter, almost all of them located in Ukraine; that particular infection, the group said, was also different than the one hitting devices in other countries.
The FBI's seizure of one of those remote systems, hosted at the ominously-named domain ToKnowAll.com, means the attackers will likely have to use a much more labor-intensive method to re-infect devices after they're rebooted.
However, routers provided to customers by internet service companies may also have been affected, the official said. The malware is able to perform multiple functions, including possible information collection, device exploitation, and blocking network traffic.
Officials say the malware targets devices made by several manufacturers. "Detection and analysis of the malware's network activity is complicated by its use of encryption".