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Advice from the FBI

If you’re a longtime client or reader of Technology Update, you can say the FBI has either listened to us or validated us with its recent call to restart your routers. Our national law enforcement agency says that routers can be vulnerable to hackers, and one of your best defenses is to restart them. There’s more you can do, but restarting a router is easy to do.

First, let’s look at the restart process, which clears out a lot of junk piles – junk piles that make great hiding places for the bad guys who want to use your network as the entrance to your entire computing world. Rebooting can also help your network’s performance, just like a reboot or restart helps your computer. All you need to do is:

  1. Unplug your router and modem – or combined gateway, which includes your router/modem and VOIP telephone – from the power source. If there is an adapter that plugs into your unit, you can usually do it right there. Do the same for any network switches you might have. If you have batteries for backup power in any equipment, make sure you pull them out.
  2. Wait at least 30 seconds. This is important to help junk clear out, and it signifies your system is offline. Waiting a minute wouldn’t hurt.
  3. Reconnect your system, starting with your modem if it’s a separate unit. If you have a gateway, connect that. If it doesn’t power on automatically, press the power button. Wait at least a minute to give your ISP time to authenticate your connection and assign a public IP address.
  4. Reconnect your router and wait two minutes. This gives your router time to boot back up and gives everything on your network time to get new private IP addresses assigned by the DHCP service in your router. If you removed the power from any switches or other network hardware, now is the time to power those back on. Just give them a minute or so, too. If you have several devices, be sure to power them on from the outside-in, based on your network map.

If you don’t understand anything in the fourth step, it’s a good idea to call us for help. We can follow the map and help you test everything on your network to make sure it’s all working properly. You can also reset your modem if you are concerned about security and/or performance, and that’s something we can help you with, too. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us with questions or to set up an appointment.