FBI warns consumers: Reboot your internet routers

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (ABC News) -- The device that connects your home or office to the internet is under attack. And the FBI is urging you to take immediate steps to stop it.

The device is called a router, and a half-million of them have been compromised in 54 countries.

The malware's name is VPNFilter. The FBI and Justice Department want you to take this simple step: Reboot the router by disconnecting it, waiting 30 seconds, then plugging it back in and waiting for it to re-establish an internet connection.

Silicon Valley tech companies that have researched it say VPNFilter can interrupt your internet service, steal your information and enlist your device to spread the malware. The FBI has seized the source of the malware, so rebooting should help.

"Well, it will only because the government also seized the website that's doing the infection so if you get rid of the source, the command and control center, and then you clean up the individual devices, we should be OK," said technology analyst Larry Magid.

Stopping the malware is crucial due to the proliferation of IoT, the Internet of Things. Routers provide the internet connection for 23 billion devices, including thermostats, video doorbells, refrigerators and home control devices like Alexa. Routers generally don't have anti-virus protection.

The malware vulnerability extends far beyond your home router. In a larger sense, it could also target and sabotage government operations, military bases, hospitals and even utility companies.

The FBI also suggests changing your router's password and updating the firmware. However, that may stump some people as their router was may have been installed by an internet service provider technician. In that case, a call to customer service might be necessary.