Home Routers safe from Shellshock bug, say major ISPs of UK

A new bug has been discovered that can potentially affect hundreds of millions of computers, devices and servers,. The discovery of a new vulnerability, which is part of many Linux/Unix based systems, is called “Shellshock”. It is in the command-line Bash interface (shell). Researchers say hackers can remotely use this to take control of almost any system using Bash.

Although the Shellshock bug has been called a “deadly serious” bug, in all probability the casual home user need not worry too much about it, so long as everything regarding security is updated. Even systems that are exposed won’t let external execution of Bash. Unless a hacker can gain access first to an affected system, possibly using a Trojan, virus infection or something similar, it is difficult for Shellshock to do harm. But Bash exposed in any way can do harm. If a virus that can exploit the bug does infect a semi-vulnerable system, it would be easy enough for the malware to do damage. A simple Bash command can wipe the system, or even turn it into a zombie that botnet spammers or hackers can control.

Are you wondering about the home broadband routers supplied by the big ISPs? Don’t worry too much, as the good news is that many systems and embedded devices like these make use of the Busybox software actually, instead of the Bash. Busybox is not vulnerable to the Shellshock bug. So all those home broadband routers that often come free in a bundle, may not be jeopardised. The big ISPs such as BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have said so. Certainly if your router is not from a major ISP mentioned above, you should do some Google search to find out whether the device has in it Bash or Busybox. In most cases it would be Busybox. If it is found to be Bash, then to be surely safe you may have to send a query directly to the manufacturer, but without panicking. Bash stands for Bourne-Again Shell, which is a command prompt on may Unix-based systems.

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