Guest Post: NordVPN Discusses The Fact That Russia Is Intensifying Hacking Of Foreign Routers & Email Accounts

In the latest news, it has been reported that a new piece of Russian malware can infect consumers’ routers.

The malware comes from the group called Fancy Bear, believed to be a part of Russia’s military intelligence service. The software could be used to monitor and surveil any traffic that goes across a user’s router, to infect it or to block certain websites. About 500,000 devices globally are already infected with the malware, which could be used to form a network of zombie devices that could block sites by overloading their servers.

Meanwhile in Canada, a 23-year Russian old “hacker on fire” has just been sentenced to 5 years in prison.  Between 2010 and 2017, he stole a massive amount of  Yahoo data to gain access to private emails, while working for the FSB, a Russian spy agency. .

“We are living in times where no one can be certain about their online privacy – there are many interests at play. Many of them come from foreign governments, as in the case with router malware or the Russia-hired hacker stealing email data,” said Marty P. Kamden, CMO of NordVPN. “Certainly, there are also hacks done purely for money, by stealing users’ information and demanding ransom. People log into their computers and don’t know if someone’s not reading their emails or stealing passwords. We recommend certain privacy precautions – no one can afford to be careless about their online security these days.”

  1. Protecting your router. The most secure solution is downloading the latest firmwarefrom the manufacturer’s site. For Netgear routers, users can go directly to routerlogin.net, then Advanced options, Administration tab, and click update. For Linksys routers, users should visit the support website and download the firmware. Then they should use their default IP address to update the firmware. If a firmware update is not available, then users need to do a factory reset by pressing a reset button on their router. Other routers have similarly straightforward procedures for updating their firmware.
  2. Avoiding phishing emails. The hacker who worked for Russian intelligence, Karim Baratov, was sending phishing emails to specific people, tricking users into handing over their usernames and passwords, and then delivering their login information to the Russian FSB. To avoid similar hacks, users should be very careful not to click on any links in emails if they have any doubt about their legitimacy. Some tips to avoid phishing include checking the sender’s address – and if domain looks suspicious (info@secure.apple.com), not opening the email. It’s also very important not to click on any links – you can hover your mouse on the button to see the destination link. Check if it looks legitimate and, especially, if it contains the “https”part to indicate a secure connection.

For additional safety, always use a VPN that encrypts a user’s online traffic into a secure tunnel. Using a VPN when browsing can protect you against malware and phishing that targets online access points.

 

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