Here’s a riddle, see if you can guess it: what connects you to the web which you don’t usually pay attention to it? I’ll give you a minute. Don’t be a cheat and skim for the answer! Ok, the answer is drumroll please…your WiFi router!
Who guessed it? Usually, unless you need to switch it on and/or off, move it for one reason or another, it goes unnoticed within most households. It’s even more comical because updating the WiFi router firmware isn’t the responsibility of the companies but placed on their customers. A study was done by Tripwire in 2014, that revealed that there’s a sizable number of individuals that work in IT that don’t know they have to and/or how to update their WiFi router firmware.
The funny thing, is it may not be on your radar most days but it probably is on someone else’s list of hackable devices. Through your device, they will have access to your data, saved docs, bookmarked sites, web history, emails, account info, etc. It’s amazing, with all the talk about computer and laptop firewall protection, etc., you don’t hear many advising individuals to also secure their WiFi with the necessary updates to their router firmware. It’s like saying leave your home’s front door unlocked but make sure to lock (better yet simply close) all the other doors in the house. That’s ludicrous, because all a person needs is to use brute force, know how to pick a lock, or (if the door is closed) just turn the door knob to get into the room.
Someone or people may even say, “Hey, it’s better than nothing”. To that I say, all the best to you with your future endeavors. Seriously? It’s about time we realize just about every part of our lives is in the process of being connected to the web in one way or another; so, you have to start making it a point to learn how to protect your information. Depending on the country you live in, especially, if you’re from a first world country living in a particular region, state, or city, you don’t hear about burglaries like it was common to in the past. It’s becoming somewhat normal to hear about someone or a company’s customers having their personal account data stolen, laptop or phone cameras being hacked, hacking into wireless devices, robo calling, phish scams, social media account, cars, and phones getting hacked. Those are a few cyber-crimes occurring and on the rise. It’s great to be on trend with technology, but blissful ignorance can’t continue to be the default setting of the general public.
More urging needs to be given about securing tech devices, one of them being the WiFi router. It’s the gateway to the worldwide web for many of our devices. How to update your router firmware varies depending on the brand. You will need to know your router’s IP address to start. Check YouTube or Google for tutorials on how to update your router firmware. To start us off, if you have a Linksys device here’s a tutorial via lifewire.
Here are some examples of IP addresses that belong to certain brands so you know what to look out for if you happen to own a product on this list.If the device you have isn’t present, check Google for examples.
Examples of Modem/Router IP addresses:
Apple: 10.0.1.1, 192.168.100.1, 192.168.1.1
Netgear: 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1
Knowing the fact that most of us live in an out of sight out of mind state of mind, see if you can get update alerts sent to you from the manufacturer of your WiFi router. It may be a good plan as opposed to relying on yourself to remember to check (atleast quarterly, every year) to see if there are any updates for your device.
Some companies are starting to implement an automatic update feature in their routers as opposed to relegating the update process to customers (products such as Google WiFi and Luma). Some other companies are working with security companies (ie. McAfee) to provide services like malware protection among a number of others to protect their devices. Giving customers (those aware and unaware) the peace of mind of buying an internet protection product and being able to secure their router as well.
All the same, ignorance is bliss but having your personal data stolen isn’t. If you have no intention of handing over private information to a random person or people on the street then you should take precautions to safeguard your data. Whether it be miscellaneous and/or important, anyone malicious or bored that’s knowledgeable enough can basically stroll right through your unprotected router and do as they please. A possible added bonus, taking the time to update your router firmware could even increase your WiFi speeds.
Let us know, if you’ve gone through the process of updating your WiFi firmware before. If so, how did it go?
If your never have, do you intend to update your WiFi router?
- These are the steps you need to take in securing the data flowing through your WiFi router:
- Update router firmware (the most current update, make sure to check for updates quarterly every year.)
- Change the usernames and passwords on the router and wireless networks (preferably as soon as you purchase the product). They have to be unique not something someone can easily guess after one or 150 tries.
- Disable the remote access feature.
- Also, wireless routers aren’t meant to be kept forever. For security reasons you should consider getting a new one every 3 – 5 years.
- You should also consider looking into securing and updating your other wireless devices. They leave you open for attack on the internet as well. Examples of wireless devices are Logitech devices (wireless mouse and keyboard), wireless printers, and the list continues to grow. Don’t get caught unaware. Living in blissful ignorance can’t be afforded in this current era or those to come. Basic technological knowledge, in the way of securing data, is a must.