Ensure you are protected from a vulnerability in many consumer routers
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Five out of six name brand routers, such as Linksys, NETGEAR and D-Link, contain known open-source vulnerabilities.
A staggering 83 percent of home and office routers have vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers. Of those vulnerable, over a quarter harbor high-risk and critical vulnerabilities, according to a report released by American Consumer Institute on router safety (PDF).
The study examined 186 WiFi routers from 13 different manufacturers, including market-share leaders Linksys, Belkin, NETGEAR and D-Link. “Failing to address known security flaws leaves consumer devices vulnerable to having their data compromised, leading to malicious activity, identity theft, fraud and espionage,” according the report.
Researchers blamed open-source libraries as the main reason for security flaws in router firmware. “Hackers target hardware devices such as routers, because they are usually left on and their accompanying software, called firmware, are infrequently updated,” the report stated.
Also contributing to systemic security issues with routers is a lackluster patching regiment by most consumers and vendors.
“Fixing vulnerabilities lies partly in the hands of consumers who must do their homework and install firmware (software) updates,” the report stated. “In addition, manufacturers often do not provide user-friendly ways for consumers to update firmware or may even view building security protocols into their devices as an unnecessary expense.”