The FBI Says Your Router Is Helping Russian Hackers

But there’s one simple thing you can do to fix it.

Alexei Druzhinin/Planet Pix via ZUMA

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation made an announcement on Friday that went a bit under the radar, but is huge: Russian hackers devised a sophisticated malware system that has infected hundreds of thousands of internet routers in the United States as part of its ongoing effort to undermine American democracy.

“Foreign cyber actors have compromised hundreds of thousands of home and office routers and other networked devices worldwide,” the agency wrote on a public service announcement released on Friday. “The malware is able to perform multiple functions, including possible information collection, device exploitation, and blocking network traffic.”

The agency called the size and scope of the problem “significant.”

The FBI says that the Russian hacker group “Fancy Bear” is behind the new malware. Fancy Bear is reportedly directed by Russia’s military intelligence agency and is responsible for hacking into the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2016 presidential election. An estimated 500,000 routers in at least 54 countries were infected with the malware. And devices from major router manufacturers including Linksys, MikroTik, Netgrear, and TP-Link were all affected.

The FBI has since seized a domain name associated with Fancy Bear, www.toknowall.com, which it says was a critical part of the malware’s “command-and-control infrastructure,” according to the New York Times

“This court-ordered seizure will assist in the identification of victim devices and disrupts the ability of these hackers to steal personal and other sensitive information and carry out disruptive cyberattacks,” Scott W. Brady, United States attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, said in the statement to the Times

Worried that you’re router’s been compromised? The FBI recommend several steps, including rebooting it, disabling remote management settings, and using a stronger password, especially when encryption is enabled.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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