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US government warns of hack threat to network gear

Published on Jan 30, 2013 1:24 AM

BOSTON (REUTERS) - The United States Department of Homeland Security urged computer users on Tuesday to disable a common networking technology feature, after researchers warned that hackers could exploit flaws to gain access to tens of millions of vulnerable devices.

The US government's Computer Emergency Readiness Team (Cert) advised consumers and businesses to disable a feature known as Universal Plug and Play, or UPnP, and some other related features that make devices from computers to printers accessible over the open Internet.

UPnP is designed to let networks identify and communicate with equipment, reducing the amount of work it takes to set up networks.

Mr Dave Marcus, chief architect of advanced research and threat intelligence with Intel's McAfee unit, said hackers would have a "field day" once the vulnerability in network devices is exposed.

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