Rebooting: The Simplest Way to Fix Things and Keep Hackers at Bay

How-To
Q: What is the simplest troubleshooting step that works on almost all devices and fixes 50% of the issues?

A: Restarting the machine.

Restarting or Rebooting your machine is indeed one of the best ways to troubleshoot sudden arising anomalies in your device. But recent reports have shown that it is also an efficient method to break off any authorized connections set up without your knowledge by threat actors.

The Pegasus Malware infiltration cases highlighted by Amnesty International’s Security Lab established a connection of various governments spying on their important citizens using NSO’s spyware. This report has sent shocking waves across the globe which have stunned many tech experts that something of this sort was even possible where the user does not do anything but his/her device still gets compromised. The level of hacking surpassed all that have been seen before because the people in command could not only get the contents of the device but also use the camera and microphone to record conversations beyond your smartphone.

Until a solution to this is found, restarting your devices frequently has been suggested by experts. Today’s we understand why rebooting your device is a powerful step that has been recommended since the first machine was developed. We will attempt to cover :

  • Restart Your Smartphone
  • Restart Your Computer
  • Restart Your Router

Restart Your SmartPhone

Restart Your SmartPhone

In the latest briefing by Sen Angus King, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has recommended a simple step that can help smartphone users keep their phone and its contents safe. He stated:

Step 1: Turn Off Smartphone.

Step 2: Turn it on, again.

The smartphone rebooting step has to be carried out at least once a week. Now, this step does not guarantee 100% success but it does make things more difficult for threat actors. The NSA issued a “Finest Practices” info for mobile safety where rebooting is listed as an option to cease hacking. The idea behind rebooting your smartphone is simply the fact that when you restart any device it breaks off all the present connections and you will have to reestablish them again. It is not exactly a piece of cake to connect to another’s a smartphone and steal information and once a phone is restarted, the connection breaks off and the hacker has to go all over the process once again.

While most of the security agencies agree with this, Marczak security firm refutes this and states that if you reboot your smartphone, the threat actors can send another zero-click exploit in no time and your phone will be compromised again before you can even use your phone browser.

Restart Your Computer

Restart Your computer

Most IT people suggest restarting your computer when you face an issue and check if it reiterates. This is because restarting your PC puts it in the default state (not to be confused with factory settings) and initiates all processes and services from zero. With a reboot, the PC clears its RAM to scratch and many temp files also get automatically deleted. This process helps resolve temporary issues like RAM Leakage, overheating, incomplete updates/installations among other issues.

Rebooting your PC is also known as a soft reboot as the power supply stays intact. The input/output operations currently running on the system are terminated which helps in getting rid of troublesome code. Take, for example, Google Chrome Browser, which when running for a long time, consumes more memory and becomes slow. A simple restart can rejuvenate things and make the process function smoother and swifter than before. Here are five advantages of rebooting your PC in a nutshell:restart

  • Fix RAM Problems. RAM issues are related to how slow and sluggish your computer has become. A quick fix is to restart your computer and clear the RAM cache as it is a volatile memory that loses its content when the power supply disrupts.
  • Software Issues. Not every software is perfect and some of them have certain anomalies like Memory Leaks. In this situation, the unused memory of an application cannot be overwritten by another application causing a portion of your RAM to be unnecessarily occupied at all times.
  • Wi-Fi Issues. If your internet is not working properly for an unknown reason, then a simple restart of the PC and router will fix most issues. This helps to refresh the network settings and clear the bogged-down cache data.
  • Performance Issues. If you feel that your PC has started slogging, then reboot it and you will find the performance to be greatly improved.
  • Updates Error. All applications and operating systems require updates. While updating, if the process freezes for a long time, a reboot can help fix the lag and complete the pending task.

Restart Your Router

restart your router

The last remaining device that must be restarted daily is the router that provides the internet connection to all your smart devices. The router is a mini-computer in itself consisting of CPU, memory, and local storage.  And thus it also needs a restart to fix issues like memory leaks, overheating, and resolve temporary bugs. The recommended way to restart a router is to unplug the power cord for 30 secs to a minute and then plug it back in.

Should we wait for 30 secs to a minute after turning off the power of the Router/Modem?Most electronic devices use Capacitors that are like tiny batteries which cause the LEDs to emit light for 10 secs even after the device has been turned off. Hence to ensure that there is no power left in the device and the temporary memory is free of its content, wait for 60 seconds before you restart any device.

Other Reasons to Restart Your Router

Firmware Bugs. The router is known to crash due to excessive memory consumption as a result of bugs in the firmware that can be sorted by rebooting your modem.

Over Heating. Keeping your router in a closed space or accidentally covering the vents can cause the router to crash and a restart will fix this issue.

IP Address. Your ISP provides a new IP address to your router whenever you restart it. This is known as a dynamic IP address and is commonly used unless you have subscribed for a static one. Using the same IP address for a longer time congests the traffic path with remnants and thus a restart of the router will get another IP address or path for your web traffic to commute.

Bonus Information: What is Power Cycling?

power cycling
Image: USA Today

Power Cycling is the term used to denote the restarting of an electronic machine. So basically it is a technical term for turning your computer on and off. Power Cycling is an extremely important troubleshooting step that has resolved many problems. Here is an interesting story of how power cycling saved millions of dollars and helped mankind unravel the secrets of our universe.

The European Space Agency had set January 2014, as the time when their comet lander Rosetta was to wake up in outer space after 31 months of hibernation. But there was no activity and the systems were not syncing with each other. The scientist had begun losing hope and because millions of dollars were shoved down the drain.

Not many knew that Rosetta had been programmed to fix a situation like this by rebooting itself and then trying to connect with the base on Earth. Later reports confirmed that Rosetta took an extra 18 minutes and two reboots to display “Hello World”  confirming that it was back on.

The Final Word on Rebooting: The Simplest Way to Fix Things and Keep Hackers at Bay

PowerCycling or Rebooting is not limited to Smartphones, PCs, and Routers but rather you should reboot all the electronic devices as per the recommended schedule. This is the most simple piece of advice you can give to anyone and no one denies this solution. The reboot experiment can be tried on other devices like televisions, digital cameras, and smartwatches to yield smooth and flawless functioning of the device.

So what are you waiting for? You can start rebooting your devices at once! Follow us on social media – FacebookInstagram and YouTube.

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