This may be a bitter pill to swallow, but researchers have published a post detailing the fact that broadband routers may not be as secure against hackers, malware, and viruses as users would like to think – and this calls for more proactive defenses in guarding against attacks.
The researchers would like all users to understand that their broadband router is the first line of defense they have against external attacks aimed at their networks and systems; unfortunately, a series of tests confirms that the firmware of many broadband routers is very susceptible to cyber aggressions.
Firmware is the broadband router version of an operating system in personal computers. Just as operating systems and software work with hardware to determine the operations and functionalities of PCs, firmware drives the functions and networks and routers. Just like a computer’s operating system or its files could be corrupted or targeted during a cyber attack, those of broadband routers were also found to contain security weaknesses.
The investigators analyzed 37 broadband routers for this fact by reverse engineering their firmware so that their system libraries, operating systems, and executable files could be analyzed – giving way to the detection of vulnerabilities within the versions of the installed software and device databases.
The investigators found that 90% of the routers examined had components that were about 10 years old, with software that had become obsolete and open to security vulnerabilities.
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To better protect yourself, the researchers advise that users constantly update the firmware in their routers and using multi-layered defenses such as virus scanners and firewalls. The investigators are also trying to contact broadband router manufacturers to install better security in the devices and even consider using a star-rating system to enable users know the level of cyber security the routers have.