It is not only US and UK elections that the Russians meddle with, they are also after your router.
Last month the FBI started asking everyone to reboot their routers in order to flush out a virus that the Russians had been sending modems all over the world.
In the beginning it was thought this was a minor, local and very specific problem that could be sorted by simply rebooting the modem.
However, it has now been discovered that this infection has a much further reach than first imagined and it has been estimated that as many as 500,000 Australian homes and businesses will be at risk.
I know what you are saying to the screen right now… “But I have a Mac and they don’t get viruses!”
Sadly, this is not a matter of Windows and Mac or viruses… but rather the firmware of that little box under your desk or telephone on the kitchen bench, the one with the blinking lights, – the modem itself.
But don’t worry, like all things (including presidential elections) there is a fix.
First, we have to see if your modem is even on the radar.
The make and model of the modem is usually on a sticker on the underside of the modem, have a look and see if it matches any of the makes and models on this list. I will wait here…
Huawei (often used by Optus and iiNet)
Netgear (very common in Australia)
So, if you find you are on the list, don’t panic… it doesn’t mean you HAVE been infected.
Next step is to run a little tool from Symantec that will test your modem and tell you if in fact you have been hacked. I’d suggest a stiff drink on hand, just in case.
The tool in question can be found here:
So, what to do if you have the all clear? Have that drink! and make a note to upgrade the firmware on your modem. You can either do this yourself, via your telco or give us a call and we’ll arrange a visit.
What do if you are infected? Turn off the modem. Have that drink (and maybe another) and give us a call.
From here your modem needs to be erased and reset up and it’s firmware updated. Unfortunately this can be a rather painful experience as all your wireless devices will need to be reconnected to the network, but its the only way to be sure that the infection is removed and doesn’t come back… until the next backdoor is found that is.