You may or may not have heard that the FBI has recommended that you reboot your home router. Basically, that means go unplug it and plug it back in. Seems like a pretty trivial thing for the FBI to be concerned about, doesn’t it. What is at stake is there are several models of routers that have been hacked and have had the firmware, read software that runs the router, changed to include commands that might cause your router to cause issues on the internet later in the year.

The FBI estimates that close to a half-million routers in the United States are at risk. The reboot will disable the code but the only true way to remove it is to do a hard reset of the router. For most routers, this is accomplished by pressing and holding a reset switching while turning the device on and off again. After this, you will want to check to see if you are running the latest firmware. After you log into the router, there will be a menu selection that will show you the version of firmware you are running and what the latest is. If you are not running the latest, then you should upgrade. There should be a button to download and install the latest version.

They have seen this issue in routers from some of the most popular home routers sold today. The list includes the following routers:

  • Linksys E1200
  • Linksys E2500
  • Linksys WRVS4400N
  • Mikrotik RouterOS for Cloud Core Routers: Versions 1016, 1036, and 1072
  • Netgear DGN2200
  • Netgear R6400
  • Netgear R7000
  • Netgear R8000
  • Netgear WNR1000
  • Netgear WNR2000
  • QNAP TS251
  • QNAP TS439 Pro
  • QNAP NAS devices running QTS software
  • TP-Link R600VPN

So after these steps, what can you do to prevent your router from being hacked?

  1. Make sure you have a good strong password. If you have never changed the password on the router since you took it out of the box, quit reading and go do that now. Finding the default username and password for a particular router is easy as typing Google.com into your browser. So if you haven’t changed your username and/or password, then your router information is on the internet for sure.
  2. Turn off remote access to your router. Most routers if not all have the ability to connect to them remotely from outside your home on the internet and if you haven’t done number 1 on this list, then your router is really at risk. Hackers will do scans on the internet looking for login prompts and it doesn’t take much when finding one to know what the device is that they just connected to.
  3. Take a page out of your local fire department’s playbook. Fire departments recommend that you change the batteries in your smoke alarms when the time changes. Also, take this time to check your firmware version and see if it is up to date. Companies push updates out all the time and you always want to make sure you are running the latest version.

So although this issue won’t directly affect you, you don’t want to be part of the problem. Also, if your internet provider picks up that your router is causing problems, they will disconnect you from the internet until you get the issue fixed. If you need help in checking your router and upgrading the firmware, get in contact with us and we will be more than happy to come by and check.