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Poor router security is making Brits vulnerable to cyberattacks

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/jijomathaidesigners)

UK consumers are putting themselves at risk of attack by failing to update the security protection on home hardware such as routers.

A study by Avast has found that many users rarely update their router’s firmware or change the factory settings login credentials, putting themselves at high risks from all kinds of cyberattacks.

Avast found that 83 per cent of Brits have the above mentioned poor cybersecurity practices, highlighting that the general public lacks understanding of router security.

Half of Brits log in once a year into their router’s interface to check for updates, while 48 per cent said they were clueless that their router even has firmware.

“An individual’s local network is only as strong as the weakest link in the chain, and more often than not it is the router that is the greatest point of vulnerability,” said Martin Hron, security researcher at Avast.

“The router is frequently misunderstood or overlooked, but it’s arguably the most important device as it acts as the gateway to the internet. By connecting multiple devices and allowing them to share data with one another while managing incoming and outgoing web-traffic, it’s a natural target for bad actors who are intent on gathering sensitive personal information, such as bank login details, and exploiting the devices paired to it. As a bare minimum, people should be changing the default usernames and passwords on their routers as soon as they’re installed, and proactively check for firmware updates.”

The report noted the recently-detected VPNFilter malware, which targeted some 700,000 routers in 54 countries, including those from the likes of Linksys, NETGEAR, D-Link, Huawei or Asus.

Image source: Shutterstock/jijomathaidesigners

Sead Fadilpašić is a freelance tech writer and journalist with more than 17 years experience writing technology-focussed news, blogs, whitepapers, reviews, and ebooks. And his work has featured in online media outlets from all over the world, including Al Jazeera Balkans (where he was a Multimedia Journalist), Crypto News, TechRadar Pro, and IT Pro Portal, where he has written news and features for over five years. Sead's experience also includes writing for inbound marketing, where he creates technology-based content for clients from London to Singapore. Sead is a HubSpot-certified content creator.