Monday, October 5, 2015

Linux.Wifatch the Internet Vigilante?

A router is a networking device that transfers data packets from network to network. Everyone that has Internet connection has one of these devices in their home. What most people do not know (at least I didn’t) is that routers are one of the most vulnerable devices. Routers are easily hacked, are rarely updated, and are never protected against viruses. Sounds scary for router owners and users of the Internet, but the fact that a virus could be in your router may not be a bad thing. What if there was a virus that could protect your router from malicious viruses? Sounds unbelievable, but Symantec, a security firm, has released a report on October 1st about a recently discovered virus called Linux.Wifatch. This new virus was discovered in 2014 when a researcher noticed something weird going on with his router. This new virus is said to mostly occupy Brazil, Mexico, and China.

 They found that the new virus acts like a normal virus, but instead of attacking the router and searching for sensitive data, Wifatch keeps other viruses out of the router. The new virus is protecting the infected. It is still unclear where or why the virus was created, but it is clear that the author is making no effort to conceal it. The author leaves messages and comments to router owners for example:
The virus is not only protecting the owner from viruses, it is also advising the owners to update the device and change passwords. This seems too good to be true. Is the author trying to gain information about people secretly? Is there an exterior motive to this seemingly sympathetic act? 
If this is an act of kindness to the people of the world, the author deserves a thank you. But what if the author is trying to establish a low threat level to business owners and possibly extract important information from businesses? In my opinion, I think this "protecting virus" is too good to be true. Why go through the trouble of creating this virus to protect random people? and for free? I would not be surprised if the Virus turns out to be a lot more harmful then we know. The author of Linux.Wifatch actually responded to a Q&A and said that he or she should not be trusted. A screenshot of the Q&A is posted below:

It is estimated that thousands of routers are infected today. there is a simple solution, however, to remove the virus from your device. All you have to do is reset your router. It is encouraged to be mindful when doing this because your device could get re-infected over time if you are not careful. But why remove the virus if it is "protecting you"? In conclusion, Linux.Wifatch should be monitored constantly to protect the users of the internet which includes families and even large businesses. 

Works cited

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