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FBI Urges After Russian Hacking: Reboot Your Routers

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- You know that little box that sits probably in a corner of your home? You use it every day, but how often do you update it?

Don't worry, it's not complicated. Turn it off and turn it back on again. It is that simple.

And both the FBI and Aaron Call, Minnesota's chief information security officer, say you should.

The reboot basically flushes away the malicious code that Russian hackers may have installed on hundreds of thousands of devices, according to the FBI.

Call says it is the same hacking group that unsuccessfully targeted Minnesota's system during the 2016 election.

fbi warning FBI Tells Computer Users To Reboot Routers, Warns Of Major Malware Infection

(Credit: FBI)

In this case, the FBI knows which devices are infected because of the reboot.

"So when you reboot the system, it's actually not completely clean," Call said.

Some of the malware is still there, and it then tries to retrieve the rest of it to do more bad stuff. The FBI went ahead and bought the rest of that "bad stuff."

"It tries to retrieve it from a website that the FBI now owns," Call said.

Which helps control the damage, but you can take it a step further if you want. Call says you can get rid of all the malware by doing a "hard reset."

"So it doesn't even attempt to reach back out to the FBI-owned domain now, and that's done by unplugging it and pressing that little button that you need to get a little pin to push on the bottom side of the device," Call said.

The downside with that hard reset is that your router goes back to its original settings, and you would have to reconfigure everything.

This all comes down to keeping your devices up to date, not just the ones that actively remind you.

One analysis of the problem estimates 500,000 routers in more than 50 countries may be infected.

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