FBI Prescribes Router Reboots to Defend Against VPNFilter Attacks

Today’s topics include the FBI recommending router reboots to limit the VPNFilter malware risk, and Microsoft investing in deep learning to improve image search results.

The FBI on May 25 advised organizations and individuals to reboot their devices as a way to defend against the recently disclosed VPNFilter malware that has infected over 500,000 devices around the world.

The attack was first publicly disclosed on May 23 by Cisco's Talos cyber-security research division, which warned that routers from Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR and TP-Link, as well as QNAP network-attached storage devices, have been infected. Cisco's analysis found that VPNFilter has a two-stage infection process, the second of which doesn't survive a system reboot.

U.S. law enforcement officials have already acted to help disrupt the VPNFilter malware, which they are attributing to a hacker group known as the Sofacy Group.

Microsoft is using deep learning to help its Bing Image Search engine return more relevant results to users. Deep learning is a computationally intensive subset of machine learning that enables advanced analytical workloads by using neural networks modeled after the human brain and mimicking how people recognize patterns and process information.

Microsoft's AI searches for correlations between images and search queries mapped to semantic spaces used to derive meaning from data, even if the web pages containing those images lack any sort of text descriptors.

According to Microsoft, "This approach allows Bing to provide high quality results even from pages where no such query terms are present. We do this at internet scale, searching billions of images in tens of milliseconds for every image search query issued on Bing."