Yes, it may have happened. But believe it or not, it may be a good thing. Or maybe not! Lfwatch is a piece of software that infiltrates into unprotected routers and other internet-based devices, but rather than trying to steal their data and cause panic, it tries to patch and protect them.
So how does it do that? Here are a few of its features:
– First of all, it tries to kill any malware that may be residing in your router;
– Then, it tries to protect your computer from viruses;
– It automatically installs new router firmware patches, as they become available;
– Forces a device reboot every week, in an effort to terminate any malicious software that may be residing in your router’s memory.
Now that’s a useful piece of software! And it’s one that’s spreading quite fast, according to the cybersecurity researchers at Symantec. Still, even though the software appears to be 100% safe for now, there are a few things that don’t look that good.
Everything started last year, when an unsuspecting coder discovered some processes that were started by inexistent executables. In other words, he could see some software running, but he couldn’t see the application files.
Of course, any program needs an executable file to run, and in this case, lfwatch was secretly running from a different folder, in comparison with the application path that was being reported to the operating system.
So how dangerous is this application? Nobody knows for sure at this point. It could spy on you, but maybe it won’t do it. Sure, it forces you to update your passwords because they may be outdated, but according to the consultants at SMA Cable Vendor Data Alliance, it could also do that to steal your confidential information.
This altruistic hack could be just an attempt to improve everyone’s privacy, though. Or maybe it’s just a very clever diversion? Let’s see what lfwatch can do before drawing a conclusion.
First of all, it has the ability to monitor your router. I know, your cell phone monitors your data usage as well, so what’s the problem? Well, the unpacked application code has highlighted the fact that lfwatch also includes a server.
If you aren’t a programmer, here’s a translation for you: lfwatch has the ability to send your files over the Internet. And all of the sudden, this user friendly application isn’t that user friendly anymore.
More than that, the programmers behind this application have hidden a message in the app: “To any NSA and FBI agents reading this: please consider whether defending the US Constitution against all enemies, foreign or domestic, requires you to follow Snowden’s example.” So is this a bad or a good piece of software? Only time will tell, but until we know more, make sure to update your router firmware and change your router password every 3-6 months, to make sure that you are on the safe side.