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Millions of home Wi-Fi routers under attack by botnet malware — what you need to know

Millions of home Wi-Fi routers are under attack by botnet malware, just a week after a researcher put up a blog post showing how to exploit a vulnerability in the routers’ firmware.

The problem is that at least 36 other models of routers distributed by 20 different companies have identical or very similar flaws, and firmware patches may not be available yet for all of them. Few people even know that you need to update your router’s firmware just as you need to update your computer or phone.

What you can do about this

If you own your router, and you are somewhat technically skilled, then you should access the administrative settings to check the model number and firmware version. Plugging an Ethernet cable from a laptop into one of the router’s Ethernet ports is the quickest way to do this. If your router is one of the models on this list and the firmware is out of date, you’ll need to check for updated firmware. We have a generic guide on how to update your router’s firmware here, but in truth the procedure varies from model to model.

Sometimes you’ll have to go to the support website of the company whose name is on the router and see whether you can download an update from there. Turning that off will protect you from almost all router hacks that can be carried out over the internet.

A serious flaw

The malware crew is infecting the routers with a variant of the Mirai botnet, which was first spotted in the summer of 2016 and led to some widespread attacks that fall. One of the Buffalo models, the WSR-2533DHPL2, contains two other firmware flaws, for which the Tenable blog post included proof-of-concept exploits. Buffalo has issued firmware updates for these as well. If you find bugs in a consumer router’s firmware, they could potentially affect many more vendors and devices than just the one you are researching

For more information on what routers are affected, please click the link below.

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