The router is one of the most important parts of our home’s internet connection. The router, as the name suggests, sends internet traffic wherever it needs to go.
But unfortunately, that same router you know, trust, and love every day could be silently stabbing you in the back by exposing serious security vulnerabilities.
That’s right: a number of popular routers were recently found to have major security vulnerabilities that could allow hackers and third-parties to monitor network traffic, spy on your internet activities, and remotely take control of your network. That’s bad.
This information was revealed by a firm called Independent Security Evaluators (ISE). The Baltimore-based company tested routers from popular manufacturers like Linksys, Belkin, Netgear, Verizon, and D-Link and discovered that 13 of those routers contained major security flaws.
To make matters worse, it’s basically impossible for consumers who own those routers to defend themselves. In a statement, ISE said:
“Successful mitigation often requires a level of sophistication and skill beyond that of the average user.”
We get it, ISE. We’re not smart enough to defend ourselves. So what should we do?
Well, before you get too crazy about tearing your router out of the wall, make sure it’s on the list of routers with security vulnerabilities. That list can be found here.
From that list, all 13 of the routers could be hacked when the third-party was given access to the local network. And 11 of those 13 routers could be taken over simply via the wireless network. In other words, the hacker could sit outside your home in a van, hack into your network, and monitor the unencrypted traffic you send over the internet.
There is a catch: the hacker would have to have the appropriate access credentials, which means they wouldn’t simply be able to walk outside your home and get into your network. But once those access credentials are gained (which could take a while, depending on the security of your network), the hacker has free reign over all unencrypted traffic on the network.
I wouldn’t recommend throwing your router out the window if it’s on the list. The hacker still needs to gain access credentials to first get onto the wireless and local area networks, and those access credentials should be difficult to obtain. However, it is important to note that two of Belkin’s routers, the N300 and N900, did not require the hacker to have access credentials during a remote attack – which is a huge vulnerability.
Furthermore, this report was designed mainly for router manufacturers, many of which have already released patches for these vulnerabilities.
So with that in mind, the best thing that you, as a user, can do is to upgrade your router’s firmware to ensure that it’s operating with the highest level of security. If you can do that, then you shouldn’t have any problem protecting your home’s internet connection and your network.
To check the list of affected routers, click here for the full report.