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Tech Tips: Broadband Router Security

Is your broadband router an open door to your data as well as the internet?

It has become fairly common knowledge that if you are using a computer connected to the internet, you need keep your operating system and other software up to date to reduce your vulnerability to viruses and other malicious attacks.  However, while you probably appreciate this applies to your laptop or desktop PC, there is another device in your household or business which also requires such attention:  your broadband router.

Research has indicated that 80% of small-office/home routers are at risk with exploitable flaws in their software and with consumers.   And with PC software gradually becoming more secure, malicious individuals are increasingly seeing these key networking devices as a softer target.

All your internet communication from your networked desktops, laptops, tablet and smartphones passes through your router.  This communication includes all your login credentials (username and passwords) for websites (including internet banking) and shopping payment details.  Since this effects all computers connected to your router (via WiFi or cable), the ramifications can be far greater compared to an attack which effects one individual rather than infecting one individual PC.

So what can you do about it?  The quickest and easiest action is to change your router’s administrative username and password from the factory defaults (the first combination any attacker will try), although make a note of the new details in case you need to change any settings in the future.

The next thing to check is that the firmware (the router’s operating system) is up to date.  Unfortunately, automatic updates for routers are still a rarity, so updating requires a more manual approach than modern versions of Windows.  This will involve logging into the router’s control panel via a web browser.  Once logged in some routers will give you a simple “check for updates” option while others will require you to download a firmware update for the router model from a website and then upload it to the router.  This can be a little daunting, so Logiplex Solutions are able to assist you with this process.  

Also worth considering is upgrading your router to one that can provide more flexibility and act as a backup to your broadband connection.

Simultaneous Dual Band routers provide two separate wireless networks that will run on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band, simultaneously. The 2.4GHz band provides more range and is great for everyday web surfing use however it is more susceptible to interference from wireless devices. The 5GHz band provides faster wireless speeds whilst avoiding most interference and is thus just right for bandwidth heavy tasks like on-line gaming and HD streaming. Now you can enjoy the advantages of the two bands in just one device.

3G/4G Wireless N routers allow users to share a 3G/4G mobile broadband connection with family and friends via wired or wireless connections. By connecting a 3G/4G USB modem to the routers, a Wi-Fi hotspot is instantly established, via which multiple devices can access the Internet and share data and applications wirelessly.

For assistance with updating your existing router or to discuss the benefits of upgrading your router simply visit the Logiplex workshop or call 01989 769990