Oh Britain. Worried your routers will be hacked, but won't touch the admin settings

Survey shows people don't act on insecure wireless routers

Recent Mirai-style attacks against home broadband routers have had some effect but the majority of users have failed to act.

A survey of 2,000 broadband users found the majority (53 per cent) have not changed the Wi-Fi password and other default settings, potentially opening themselves up to attack.

The poll by ISP comparison website Broadband Genie found that more than half (54 per cent) were concerned about the possibility of their router being hacked.

Shockingly, despite these concerns, the poll found that just 19 per cent had accessed the router administration controls on their router, 22 per cent had checked what devices are connected to their network, a meagre 17 per cent had changed their administrator password, and just 14 per cent had updated their router’s firmware. Women were less likely to update and change the settings on their router than men, according to the poll.

A big majority (86 per cent) of users opted to stick with the router provided by their ISP rather than purchase an alternative.

Ondrej Vlcek, CTO at security software firm Avast, commented: “Home routers are weak and, therefore, also vulnerable, because for the most part, internet service providers, router manufacturers and the security community have neglected to acknowledge, scrutinise, and address their weaknesses.

“Over the last few months, Avast scanned over 4.3 million routers around the world and found that 48 per cent have some sort of security vulnerability. Today’s router security situation reminds me of the security of PCs in the 1990s, with simple vulnerabilities being discovered every day,” he added.

Rob Hilborn, head of strategy at Broadband Genie, added: “Despite broadband being in the majority of UK homes, it feels as if routers haven’t been designed with your average consumer in mind. Usability is generally poor, and changing something as simple as a Wi-Fi password can require you to go through multiple pages and acronyms. Improving and simplifying these systems is a good place for us to start if we’re serious about the public doing more to protect their router.”

More information on the survey can be found in a blog post by Broadband Genie here. ®

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