Why The FBI is Urging You to Reboot Your Internet Router

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It’s not often that you’re given explicit instructions by the FBI concerning your internet habits, so paying attention to them is typically a good idea. The recent mass request by the bureau’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is no exception. The IC3 announced that hackers have compromised hundreds of thousands of internet routers with malware that could render them inoperable. The solution? Just turn them off for 60 seconds or so.

The encrypted malware has the potential to disrupt the router’s functions and collect private information passing through the hardware. Hackers wrote the program to target small office and home routers by companies such as LinkSys, Netgear, and TP-Link. (You can find a complete list here, though you probably want to reboot regardless.)

If you’ve had router issues in the past, you’re probably familiar with the rebooting process. All you have to do is disconnect the power cable from the back of the router, wait one minute, then plug it back in. Rebooting will disable the malware only temporarily, but that’s OK: The bureau has seized a key web domain connected with the attack and will be able to detect the IP address of routers that hackers are attempting to re-infect. The FBI also recommends you upgrade your firmware, change your network password, and disable any remote-management systems to decrease the chances of the malware infiltrating your system.

[h/t Popular Mechanics]