New Study Shows that 83% of Top Name Brand Routers Contain Weak Code.

A new report released this week by the American Consumer Institute on router safety identified five name brand routers that are known to contain vulnerabilities. Routers have become the latest security threat for companies and consumers.

Routers For Businesses

If you run a business, then experts say you should not purchase consumer-grade network equipment. Why? Below are five reasons why you should purchase enterprise-grade network equipment:

  1. Consumer-grade products are not manufactured for the type of usage a business requires. Low-priced consumer grade products will quickly fail when used 24/7 where high demands are placed on them to keep up with data traffic.
  2. Enterprise-grade equipment can handle higher temperatures like you might see in a business environment.
  3. Enterprise-grade routers are built to higher specs. Businesses need precision.
  4. No warranty or support if your router fails. The only recourse is simply to throw it in the trash and buy a new router.
  5. Security concerns-consumer-grade products are built with very poor security. Home systems use basic WPA-2 encryption.

Enterprise-grade network equipment will deliver better services and at the end of the day, they’re a much better investment. They have faster CPUs and greater amounts of RAM. They’re made with the higher security protocols that a business will require.

5 Brand Name Routers Known to Contain Vulnerabilities

In this report from the American Consumer Institute on router safety, researchers found that the open-source code in the following five routers could be exploited by hackers:

  • Netgear R6100: This Wi-Fi Router rated better than some of the others, delivering fairly good speeds. Though affordable, the 802.11ac router lacks support for Gigabit Ethernet. It does have vulnerable code that could make hacking it fairly simple.
  • Linksys EA6500: This Smart Wi-Fi Router AC 1750 HD Video Pro is the first in the Linksys EA series that supports 802.11ac. Even after several firmware updates, it still performed poorly and showed vulnerabilities that could be taken advantage of by cyber thieves.
  • Linksys EA6900: The first in its series that supports 802.11ac. Did not perform as well as the Linksys EA6400, a cheaper product. It showed vulnerabilities that hackers might use to break in and steal personal information about the user.
  • D-Link DIR-865: Its first 802.11ac router, the DIR-865 didn’t live up to expectations, performing slow on the 2.4Gh band. Limited Cloud features, plus a weakness that hackers could infiltrate.
  • Amped Wireless RTA15: This High Power Dual Band AC 700mW Wi-Fi Router is the first 802.11ac router from Amped Wireless. It offers a very long range signal with low Wi-Fi signal quality. Overall performance was not on par with similarly configured routers.

Should These Routers Be Recalled?

Of these five well-known brands of routers, various critical vulnerabilities were noted that could expose users to attacks from cyber thieves. Experts believe that these brands should be taken off the market until they can be reconfigured. Otherwise, those who own these devices are at risk of malicious attacks from hackers including fraud, identity theft, and even espionage.

According to the report, “Failing to address known security flaws leaves consumer devices vulnerable to having their data compromised, leading to malicious activity, identity theft, fraud, and espionage.”

Researchers believe that open-source libraries are the main reasons for these security flaws in router firmware, noting that consumers rarely update their router firmware, making the probability of a data breach even more likely.

Consumers Must Get in the Habit of Updating Router Firmware

Another area of concern brought to the attention of testers is that most consumers never perform patches to their routers. This leaves them wide open to malicious attack.

This report offered some helpful advice: “Fixing vulnerabilities lies partly in the hands of consumers who must do their homework and install firmware (software) updates.”

The report did say that this effort could be enhanced if manufacturers would provide user-friendly ways for consumers to update the firmware. However, many of these manufacturers consider security protocols as an unnecessary expense. They’re reluctant to spend the money. Often consumers don’t know or care about security protocols for a router so why even put it in there?

Of course, once a person is hacked and loses important data, they’re far more likely to treat cybersecurity with the seriousness it deserves.

How the Numbers Break Down

The report examined 186 routers and only 17 percent contained no vulnerabilities. For those who did, researchers stated that each router they examined contained an average of 172 vulnerabilities. Of those, 7 percent were classified as critical, based on the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Vulnerability Database classification.

This report also pointed out that in the larger context of all internet-connected devices, such as DVRs, printers, CCTV cameras,  and network-attached (NAS) devices, manufacturers were overall doing a very poor job of designing IoT devices that had the proper security protocols in place that would prevent a cyber breach.

One researcher stated, “We want these electronic devices to be free from intrusion, and we want the data to be secure, not corruptible and certainly not distributable without the owner’s authorization. Yet, our results show that these devices are highly vulnerable, and are becoming an increasingly attractive target for cyber attacks.”

What’s the Bottom Line?

The bottom line for consumers is to do their homework. There are good brands on the market today that contain the proper security protocols. Though they might cost a few dollars more, they could save you from being hacked and losing important log-in information or personal information like your name, address, date of birth and that sort of thing.

Hackers have really amped up their game, now searching for any and every device that might be an easy target. Once they steal your data, they sell it on the Dark Web. These activities have risen to epidemic proportions due to the fact that it’s very hard to catch a hacker and the U.S. has no policing authority to punish them for their crimes.

Business Owners Use Enterprise-Grade

If you own and run a business, be sure to purchase enterprise-grade routers and network equipment. This type of equipment is made to withstand the harsh business environment. Enterprise-grade equipment can handle your data traffic and has built-in security protocols that can be patched and updated each time a new version is released. This will prevent data breaches and keep your data safe. If you have a problem, your managed IT service provider can repair your business routers and get things back up and running quickly.