Although I am also a little paranoid about router exploits, meaning I try to keep up with updates. I don't think the problem is, at most, worst than what we currently have with old unpatched windows machines (except being something non-windows users will have in common with windows users).
If we discount the less appetite for cracking *nix machines than windows ones (because of the "market" share), the big diversity on the linux and *nix "ecosystem" is one of the things that makes them less prone to attack (it's difficult to crack several distros with the same exploit).
The same happens with the different routers systems, each having different versions of the software and kernel (without talking of the hardware).
The main problem is that it can pass a long time before one notices there is a problem, so over time a virus can overcame all routers of the same maker and model.
This reminds me of a fridge I have which decided to not stop freezing, and (as I don't use it much) only noticed the problem after receiving the electricity bill.
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