The FBI has issued a warning advising people to turn their routers off and back on again to help halt the spread of a dangerous piece of Russian malware.
The threat is known as VPNFilter.
"There is no easy way to tell if your device may be affected," said Jody Westby, cybersecurity expert and CEO of Global Cyber Risk LLC. "Since CISCO has said there are 500,000 devices affected in over 54 countries, I would just assume were are at risk and try to do something about it."
Westby adds the VPN-filter can interrupt your service, steal your information and even use your device to spread the damaging software.
The FBI said in its statement, "The malware is able to perform multiple functions, including possible information collection, device exploitation and blocking network traffic," adding that the scope of the problem is "significant."
"If you are a small business you really need to take heed of this warning," said Westby. "Your customer list, your price list, your intellectual property, your business processes are there and you don't want that stolen and put out on the dark web."
In response, the FBI recommends routers be restarted to temporarily disrupt the malware and aid in the potential identification of infected devices.
"Owners are advised to consider disabling remote management settings on devices and secure with strong passwords and encryption when enabled. Network devices should be upgraded to the latest available versions of firmware," the warning read.
Turning off the routers and then switching them back again – as well as updating the devices and ensuring that passwords are safe – could not only fix the problem but also allow authorities to track down where the problem has spread.
An FBI official told CBN News the kinds of devices known to be affected by the hack were purchased at electronic stores or online.
However, the FBI was not ruling out the possibility that routers provided to customers by internet service companies could also be affected.
"The size and scope of the infrastructure by VPNFilter malware is significant," the FBI warned, adding that it is capable of rendering people's routers "inoperable."
Remember, routers provide the internet connection for 23 billion devices, including thermostats, refrigerators and home control devices like Alexa or Echo.