Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) warns that at least 500,000 routers and storage devices have been hacked and infected. The sophisticated malicious software has been used to infect the storage devices and routers in several countries. However, the majority are said to be in Ukraine.
The warning which that came on Wednesday, was made by cybersecurity researchers from Cisco Talos. The group of researchers who have been doing investigations for several months now believe that Russia is behind this campaign.
The malware referred to as VPNFilter is said to attack routers from vendors such as Netgear, MicroTic, Linksys, and T-Plink. The malware also includes a module that targets industrial network such as the one that operates electric grid.
Malware is Dangerous
Cisco warned since the malware is able to interfere with internet communications as well as launch destructive attacks on Ukraine, it can hence, be used for espionage.
VPNFilter is very destructive and renders an infected device unusable. It can be used on individual machines or can be used en masse to launch coordinated attacks. The malware can be used to monitor major infrastructure environments as well as snoop on data that passes through an infected router and steal important data.
Other than the malware using a similar code to the one used in previous attacks which the U.S blamed Moscow for, the hackers are said to be the same group that breached the Democratic National committee in 2016.
Although the malware is spread in 54 countries, it is in Ukraine that devices are being hacked at an alarming rate.
Russia has gone on to strongly deny accusations by the U.S, Ukraine, and others that Kremlin is behind the global hacking scheme.
Cisco found out about the scheme some months ago and alerted both the U.S and Ukraine before going public.
It is well-known that most of the biggest cyber attacks on Ukraine have been done on holidays or some days before. The perfect example is the NotPetya attack on June 2017.
It is probable that an attack is being planned on Ukraine next month as the country celebrates constitution day on June 28th.