While there are many things large organizations, hardware manufacturers and Internet Service Providers can do to help mitigate this problem, there are only a few actions the average internet user can take to minimize the chances of being swept up in the attacks. For one thing, the only component you're likely to have direct access to as a consumer is a router. When you purchase a router, always update the default password to a new, strong password that you don't use for anything else.
Another action you should take is to make sure your components, such as your modem and router, have the latest firmware patches. This isn't always easy to do. The Technical Alert urges ISPs to send out messages to customers whenever it becomes necessary to install a software patch on their devices.
Otherwise, there's little the average person can do. The alert recommends that Internet Service Providers change their policies so that the ISP will only support hardware that meets current security standards. If a switch or router isn't capable of accepting a security update, the ISP should no longer support it. For some network administrators, this could mean replacing numerous network components to those capable of following encrypted and authenticated protocols.
While the steps to mitigate the influence Russian hackers could have on internet infrastructure is laborious and potentially expensive, it's also imperative. Hackers could potentially cause enough damage to make the expense of updating networks pale in comparison. From espionage to blackmailing to sabotage, the consequences of allowing hackers to compromise these network components are dire.
In the meantime, make sure your local router and modem passwords aren't set to the default and keep an eye out for emails that urge you to install updates. It could help prevent your network from becoming part of the problem.