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Thursday, 07 June 2018 06:41

VPNFilter malware infects many more devices than first thought

VPNFilter malware infects many more devices than first thought Courtesy: Talos Group

Researchers have discovered that malware dubbed VPNFilter affects many more brands of routers than first thought, adding six more names to the list they enumerated on 23 May. They have also found that it can deliver exploits to endpoints.

Cisco's Talos Intelligence Group researcher William Largent said on Wednesday that it was now known that routers made by ASUS, D-Link, Huawei, Ubiquiti, UPVEL, and ZTE were also susceptible to infection by the malware that Cisco has said it suspects of being backed by a nation-state.

No indication was given as to the current extent of spread of the malware; the first advisory had said that about half-a-million devices were infected.

When the first report was released, it was mentioned that a majority of the devices that were infected happened to be in Ukraine. The FBI then announced that it had seized control of the domain for the secondary command-and-control server, thus making a reboot a method of preventing infection.

But the agency's advice, for everyone to reboot their routers in order to avoid infection, came in for criticism from well-known researcher Robert Graham, the head of Errata Security, who termed it "moronic".

The malware infects an IoT device and then downloads code from two C&C servers sequentially in order to be present in its fully functional state. The first-stage server was taken offline before the FBI seized control of the domain for the second.

In Wednesday's update, Largent said he had also found that new models of Linksys, MikroTik, Netgear, and TP-Link routers were susceptible to infection.

He said a new stage 3 module, that injected malicious content into Web traffic as it passed through a network device, had been found.

"At the time of our initial posting, we did not have all of the information regarding the suspected stage 3 modules. The new module allows the actor to deliver exploits to endpoints via a man-in-the-middle capability (e.g. they can intercept network traffic and inject malicious code into it without the user's knowledge)," Largent said.

"With this new finding, we can confirm that the threat goes beyond what the actor could do on the network device itself, and extends the threat into the networks that a compromised network device supports."

He said in addition, an additional stage 3 module, that provided any stage 2 module that lacks the kill command the capability to disable the device, had been discovered.

"When executed, this module specifically removes traces of the VPNFilter malware from the device and then renders the device unusable," Largent noted.

For the nerdy, Largent has provided a detailed technical explanation of his new findings.

The updated list of vulnerable devices is:


RT-AC66U (new)

RT-N10 (new)

RT-N10E (new)

RT-N10U (new)

RT-N56U (new)

RT-N66U (new)


DES-1210-08P (new)

DIR-300 (new)

DIR-300A (new)

DSR-250N (new)

DSR-500N (new)

DSR-1000 (new)

DSR-1000N (new)


HG8245 (new)




E3000 (new)

E3200 (new)

E4200 (new)

RV082 (new)



CCR1009 (new)




CRS109 (new)

CRS112 (new)

CRS125 (new)

RB411 (new)

RB450 (new)

RB750 (new)

RB911 (new)

RB921 (new)

RB941 (new)

RB951 (new)

RB952 (new)

RB960 (new)

RB962 (new)

RB1100 (new)

RB1200 (new)

RB2011 (new)

RB3011 (new)

RB Groove (new)

RB Omnitik (new)

STX5 (new)


DG834 (new)

DGN1000 (new)


DGN3500 (new)

FVS318N (new)

MBRN3000 (new)






WNR2200 (new)

WNR4000 (new)

WNDR3700 (new)

WNDR4000 (new)

WNDR4300 (new)

WNDR4300-TN (new)

UTM50 (new)



TS439 Pro

Other QNAP NAS devices running QTS software



TL-WR741ND (new)

TL-WR841N (new)


NSM2 (new)

PBE M5 (new)


Unknown Models* (new)


ZXHN H108N (new)

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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