The other day, I was browsing casually through the web with my laptop. I visited a site that somehow managed to open a popup ad under my notice. This popup ad site I think has malware written all over it, like mining coins in the background and how to make money fast.

I'm the kind of guy who doesn't want to take any risks, so I reset my laptop to factory settings and turn off my wifi because as far as I know, malware can infect your router and change your DNS while also infecting local computer.

Here is a three part question:

1) I have a spare router unused and unopened. Does changing the router fix this hacked wifi or is the gateway still compromised?

2) Is resetting to factory settings enough to eliminate malware or at least keep it at bay? Although rare, I see some cases in which the malware infects the boot partition.

3) My tv cable box is separated from my router but connected through wire. Can the router infect the box or the other way round?

closed as off-topic by Steffen Ullrich, Anders, Matthew, Steve, CaffeineAddiction Oct 2 '17 at 13:42

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    You will need to change all electricity installation in the house, nah just kidding :))). Probably it was just an ad pop-up, but could you be more specific why do you think it is a malware? – Mirsad Sep 30 '17 at 1:59
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    I'm voting to close this question. There is no indication in the question that this is actually malware instead of just a popup. Neither is every popup an indicator for malware nor does malware always results in a popup. Moreover, it is unknown what the capabilities of this unknown or non-existing malware is and thus it is unknown what devices are affected and if the proposed mitigations are enough. – Steffen Ullrich Sep 30 '17 at 4:38
  • Lets just say the website has some reputation for malware even though dont know if its true or not its debateable.I suspect it was malware because of that and also because its says like Free money and coins on background etc. And also my CPU usage idle is at 15% although this is debateable since the laptop trackpad use 12% of CPU.Im sorry if i sound a bit worried because i need my workstation pc which ussually connected to that particular wifi and if its compromised by virus i got no place to work on – NeoMaister Sep 30 '17 at 4:40
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    I would suggest first asking if the situation you encountered is really an attack. Based on the information provided so far, it doesn't sound like there is any attack at all. You saw a popup ad on a disreputable site. That is pretty much every disreputable site on the internet. They make their money from advertising and get the most money for clicked ads, so they use ads that are extremely annoying and in your face. The chances of being infected, especially if you didn't click it and have up to date virus scanning and decent security settings in browser are quite low. – AJ Henderson Sep 30 '17 at 13:06

If we are assuming that there actually is a malware risk, then all your assumptions are correct. It is possible that malware could exploit your browser, infect your machine, pivot to your router, DNS, and slowly take over every device in your network.

1) If the router is hacked, you do not have the same controls as you might have on a computer, so replacing it with another fresh router would solve that problem

2) "Factory settings" typically means that even the boot partition is reset, so depending on what a reset means, this should protect your device.

3) It is possible that malware could figure out your tv cable box, find an exploit and infect it, even if connected to the router by a cable (doesn't matter how it is connected)

But you know all this.

What I think you are really asking is if we think all this is necessary. The chances that malware that was designed to display ads would also be so advanced as to do all that is very low. Malware that is that advanced would not announce itself by displaying ads.

I would not go through all this activity unless I had some confirmation that there was infection.

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