News & Politics

The Russians Are Coming! Again!!

They're ba-ack! (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

I have no idea what to make of this, but living in rural New England as I do, I have to reboot my modem just about every day — so, what, me worry?

Hoping to thwart a sophisticated malware system linked to Russia that has infected hundreds of thousands of internet routers, the F.B.I. has made an urgent request to anybody with one of the devices: Turn it off, and then turn it back on.

The malware is capable of blocking web traffic, collecting information that passes through home and office routers, and disabling the devices entirely, the bureau announced on Friday.

A global network of hundreds of thousands of routers is already under the control of the Sofacy Group, the Justice Department said last week. That group, which is also known as A.P.T. 28 and Fancy Bear and believed to be directed by Russia’s military intelligence agency, hacked the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2016 presidential election, according to American and European intelligence agencies.

Oh, please, not that old canard again. Big difference between a “hack” and a dope falling for a phishing expedition.

How the hacks happened (a phishing expedition). The media often shorthands the 2016 hack story as: Russians hacked Podesta and the DNC’s email accounts, and WikiLeaks then posted those hacked emails publicly. The full story is more complex.

Now the dastardly Rooskies are trying to hack us right in our own homes! What to do, what to do?

The F.B.I. has several recommendations for any owner of a small office or home office router. The simplest thing to do is reboot the device, which will temporarily disrupt the malware if it is present. Users are also advised to upgrade the device’s firmware and to select a new secure password. If any remote-management settings are in place, the F.B.I. suggests disabling them.

Roger that, chief. Even better — everybody to get from street!