Millions of broadband users could be putting themselves at risk by not paying more attention to their routers. Yes, those flashing black boxes that are often stuffed behind the TV could give hackers instant access to a host of personal data including the websites being visiting or even allow them to flood devices with nasty malware.
Not updating the router or changing Admin passwords can leave these devices open to attack and it’s a common mistake that many of us are making.
In fact, new research from the team at BroadbandGenie.co.uk has found that, out of 1,320 broadband users who were surveyed, a whopping 88 percent have never updated their router firmware and 84 percent have never changed their router admin password.
Another thing that many broadband users forget to do is look to see exactly what devices are connected to their broadband. This vital check can reveal if anyone has gained access and is using the internet connection without permission.
If your router hasn’t been upgraded by your Internet Service Provider (ISP) in a while it’s also a good idea to give them a ring as much older equipment – over five years old – can be more susceptible to hacks.
Most ISPs will have information about to how to download the latest firmware and change the admin codes on their website and it’s vital to follow the instructions and get it done as quickly as possible.
Some firms such as BT often push out updates overnight which is why they also recommend leaving the router switched on when you head to bed.
Speaking about the latest research Luis Corrons, Security Evangelist at Avast explains the risk: “If you’ve never updated the login credentials after installing a router, you’re setting yourself up as an easy target for a router password hack.
“If someone can reach your Wi-Fi network, they can try logging into your router with that information. And if they’re successful a whole new set of threats can emerge, from spying on your internet traffic to hogging your bandwidth, stealing sensitive information you enter into unencrypted websites, and installing malware.”
And Matt Powell, Editor of Broadband Genie, added: “In 2018, we ran a similar study that found 52% had never modified their router’s default settings. It’s disappointing to see this number has barely shifted. Most concerning is the very high percentage of UK broadband subscribers who don’t even know why they should be making any of these changes.