FRANKFURT: Security researchers say they have uncovered previously unknown attacks on routers which direct traffic around the internet, allowing hackers to harvest vast amounts of data while going undetected by existing cybersecurity defences.
The attacks replace the operating system used in network equipment from Cisco, the world’s biggest maker of routers, the computer forensic arm of US security research firm FireEye, Mandiant, said on Tuesday.
So far, Mandiant has found 14 instances of router implants in India, Mexico, Philippines and Ukraine, the company said in a blog post.
Separately, Cisco confirmed that it had alerted customers to these attacks on Cisco operating system software platforms.
The company said that it had worked with Mandiant to develop ways for customers detect the attack, which if found, will require them to re-image the software used to control their routers.
“If you own (seize control of) the router, you own the data of all the companies and government organisations that sit behind that router,” FireEye Chief Executive Dave DeWalt said of his company’s discovery.
Routers operate outside the perimeter of firewalls, anti-virus and other security tools which organisations around the world use to safeguard data traffic.
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