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FOX43 Finds Out: Router Hackers

YORK COUNTY, Pa -- Anyone with a router at home may have been a victim of a recent hack.

Alan Feldman, an IT consultant in York County, says this recent hack is a scary one.

"You didn`t have to do anything. You didn`t have to click a link. There was no spam email that came in that tricked you. It just happened."

The federal government says Russian hackers were able infect about 500,000 routers with malware.

Now, the FBI wants people to unplug their routers and then plug them back in.

Feldman said, "The reboot that we want everyone to do on their equipment will just help the FBI identify how many people were affected."

The feds believe the malware is capable of collecting your information or even blocking the device completely.

If the bad guys gain access to your router, they can see what websites your searching and when you search them.

"They want your data and they know a way to get your data and have you pay for it," said Feldman.

The good news, which Feldman says usually doesn't happened, is that the FBI caught the hack before it could really develop.

"The FBI reversed engineered it, figure out what domain name it was using and shut it down and took it over. "

Even so, The IT expert says this could have easily been prevented.

"The breach happened because of default passwords."

The problem is not all routers are very user-friendly when it comes to making a new password.

"A typical homeowner who`s not IT savvy, to change that password is not going to be a simple thing. It probably would be simpler to just go buy a new device."

And when you do change your password, Feldman says while it should be different than your bank or Facebook login,  it doesn't have to be complicated.

"We`ve actually found that just a simple pass phrase password with a couple of words in it, maybe a couple of letters, makes sense to you and me will also keep it safe."

While Feldman says it's good our government was able to stop this hack for now, it likely won't be the last.

"Were the good guys, right? We`re fighting this, but we`re also sharing this information. The bad guys are also reading this and their going hmmm, we`ll do it better next time."

Here's what IT experts suggest you do now: reboot your router, find a way to change your password, check if there's a firmware update for your router and if you want extra security, have a professional do a factory reset.

Also make sure you don't buy used routers.

When it comes to computer equipment, experts suggest you buy it new.

If you have a story you want Jackie to look into, FOX43 wants to find out.

Send her a message on Facebook or shoot Jackie an email at FOX43FindsOut@FOX43.com.