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Wireless router hack survey

Nearly three out of four internet-connected households in the UK are at risk of getting attacked through their wireless router. That is according to a recent study by a mobile and PC security software company.

Vince Steckler, chief executive officer of Avast Software, said: “Unsecured routers create an easy entry point for hackers to attack millions of home networks in the UK. Our research revealed that the vast majority of home routers in the UK aren’t secure. If a router is not properly secured, cybercriminals can easily gain access to an individual’s personal information, including financial information, user names and passwords, photos, and browsing history.”

The company found that more than half of all routers are poorly protected by default or common, easily hacked password combinations such as admin/admin or admin/password, or even admin/. Surveying more than 2,000 households in the UK, the IT firm found that an additional 23 per cent of consumers use their address, name, phone number, street name, or other easily guessed terms as their passwords.

One of the biggest risks on any Wi-Fi network is DNS hijacking. Malware is used to exploit vulnerabilities in a user’s unprotected router and surreptitiously redirects the user from a known site, such as a bank website, to a fake site that looks just like the real thing. When the user logs in, thieves capture the user’s login credentials and then use them to access the real site.

Steckler said: “Today’s router security situation is very reminiscent of PCs in the 1990s, with lax attitudes towards security combined with new vulnerabilities being discovered every day creating an easily exploitable environment. The main difference is people have much more personal information stored on their devices today than they did back then. Consumers need strong yet simple-to-use tools that can prevent attacks before they happen.”

According to the survey, less than half of British people strongly believe their home network is secure and 15 per cent of respondents reported that they have fallen victim to hackers. Survey respondents reported that the consequences of a breach could be severe, and reported that they are most concerned about their bank or financial information being stolen (43 per cent), losing their personal information (32 per cent), getting their photos hacked (11 per cent), and having their browsing history stolen (11 per cent). Visit www.avast.com.

More statistics from the survey among 2,000 households in the UK:

The Internet of Things is present in British households:

– 88 per cent of wired households in the UK have six or more devices connected to a Wi-Fi network
– In addition to PCs and laptops, users have mobile devices (28 per cent), printers and scanners (17 per cent), smart TVs (12 per cent), and DVD or Blu-ray players (4 per cent) connected to their Wi-Fi networks

People are afraid of spies in their neighborhood, but some like to spy:

– Avast report found 74 per cent of respondents would be extremely uncomfortable if they found out a neighbor or uninvited guest were secretly logging onto their personal home Wi-Fi network
– 8 per cent reported that they have themselves used a neighbor’s Wi-Fi network without the neighbor’s knowledge or permission

Despite concerns, people aren’t good at protecting themselves:

– 15 per cent of respondents don’t know if they use a solution to protect their home network and 9 per cent are certain they don’t use one
– 19 per cent of respondents use the same username and password for their router as they do for their password-protected websites
– 37 per cent use the default password on their router and another 12 per cent aren’t sure if they use the default password
– Only 37 per cent take steps beyond using a basic firewall to protect their network.


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