Why the Federal Bureau of Investigation wants you to reset your internet router

A plugged in computer router

A plugged in computer router

The FBI is urging Americans to reset their internet routers, warning that Russian hackers may have infected hundreds of thousands of the devices.

VPNFilter is malware that targets routers and NAS devices in order to steal files, information, and examine network traffic as it flows through the device.

The FBI has several recommendations for any owner of a small office or home office router.

Make sure your router and any other network devices you are using are updated to the latest firmware.

The malware has access to all information transferred through a user's router, and has a "self destruct" mechanism. As many as 500,000 devices in 54 countries might be compromised. Turning the router on and off temporarily disrupts the malware and erases parts of it, though the router can be reinfected.

Symantec also advises a reboot and if the problem persists to reset the device, which will wipe the device clean.

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Talos said that the following device manufacturers are known to be affected by the malware: Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR and TP-Link.

Change your router password to a strong one, if it isn't already.

"They can spy on you", Edward Stroz of risk management firm Stroz Friedberg - Aon and the former head of New York City's Federal Bureau of Investigation computer crime squad, said in an interview with CBS News' John Schiumo. This is just a service that pings a command and control server, allowing the malware authors to load the second and third stage payloads.

It is reportedly the same group that hacked the Democratic National Committee ahead of the 2016 presidential election, the Forbes report said. IoT started with computers, phones and tablets, but quickly has expanded to include voice-over-internet phone services, doorbells, security camera networks, thermostats, connected home devices such as Alexa, and even refrigerators.

A full list of compromised routers can be found here.

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