Earlier today, Wordfence released a blog highlighting a current trend amongst hackers; accessing home internet routers and turning them into weapons to target WordPress sites.
According to Wordfence:
“These IPS switch on, perform a few attacks and then switch off and aren’t heard from again for a month. What we have found is a botnet that is distributed across thousands if IPs. Each IP is only performing a few attacks, those attacks are spread across many websites, and the attacks only last a few minutes or hours.
The attacker controlling this botnet is using several evasive techniques. They are spreading their attacks across a very large number of IP addresses. They are using low-frequency attacks to avoid being blocked. They are also spreading their attacks across a large number of WordPress sites.”
At this moment in time, the hackers in question are targeting countries such as Algeria, India and the Philippines, but you never know where they’ll strike next. If a hacker manages to infiltrate your home router, they can access everything on your home network: your workstation, mobile devices that use WiFi, and other internet controlled devices like climate control systems and home security systems. Once they’re in, anything connected to the compromised router could That’s not even touching on the damage they can do to the web globally, through your router and IP.
The botnet that Wordfence uncovered was built to take WordPress sites (which make up 25% of the internet) offline by flooding them with traffic from thousands of compromised routers. The routers themselves might slow down for a short time during the attack, but otherwise, their owners will never know that they’ve been compromised. The owner of a targeted WordPress, however, will lose their website, email and any files being kept on the same server for as long as the attack lasts. Unscrupulous companies can take their competitors offline using so-called ‘Testing’ services for as little as $40 per hour.
What can you do?
Wordfence found that the attackers were able to access Algerian routers through a known vulnerability in the router’s firewall software. Your home or business router probably has some security software like a firewall installed so make sure that it’s turned on and do a quick google search to see if there are any known vulnerabilities- there’s a quick guide to setting up your router for maximum security here. Hackers are going to be particularly interested in penetrating the routers that ISPs give away free- they know that millions of people will all be using the same router, so break one and you’ve broken them all. Consider buying a new router– it’ll probably speed up your browsing and extend your wireless range in addition to making you safer.
We always recommend backing up your files and keeping them on an external hard-drive, or you can kick it old school and keep paper copies within a filing system. Google Photos is a handy app that will automatically sync your photos to the app from your mobile device and store them on a private, password-protected site for you to access from anywhere through your Google account. That way, if your mobile device is compromised, you won’t lose all your photos! Make sure that you have Two-step verification enabled on your Google account to make it harder
Here at Octopus Creative, we keep your online brand safe, and security is never an add-on option– we consider it a necessity.