U.S. authorities said Friday (May 25) that Russian hackers had “compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and could collect user information or shut down network traffic,” according to a report from Reuters. The new follows warnings earlier this week about a potential massive cyberattack timed to a soccer match in the Ukraine.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation encouraged consumers to turn their routers off and then back on to protect against hacking and to “download updates from the manufacturer to protect themselves,” the report said.
Earlier this week, the FBI said it was dismantling a network of hacked routers and storage devices that was reportedly set to enable a cyberattack. The move came after Cisco Systems, along with U.S. and Ukrainian officials, warned about the infected gear.
A Cisco security expert identified the danger as software called VPNFilter, which has infected devices in 54 countries. The malware could steal data from infected devices and also leave those machines unusable after the attack, he said.
Authorities worried hackers would launch a cyberattack to coincide with the final match in soccer’s UEFA Champions League competition, which is scheduled to take place Saturday in Kiev.
According to Reuters, the hackers belong to a group called Sofacy that is backed by the Russian government.
“Sofacy, also known as APT28 and Fancy Bear, has been blamed for many of the most dramatic Russian hacks, including that of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign,” the report said. “Western experts say Russia has conducted a series of attacks against companies in Ukraine for more than a year amid armed hostilities between the two countries, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damages and at least one electricity blackout.”
The hacking threat reportedly targeted devices from Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR, TP-Link and QNAP.