If you have a wireless connection in your home, you may be making a mistake that's putting your private information at risk.
The trouble spot: Your wireless router, the small blinking device that's probably sitting on your desk, or stashed in a corner. This piece of equipment, which connects your gadgets to one another and to the Internet, turns out to be vulnerable to hackers.
According to research presented in London at the CrestCon & IISP Congress 2015, an annual gathering of computer security experts from around the globe, poor security on millions of routers represents a major threat to consumer's information.
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Cisco consultant Kyle Lovett told an audience that between 25 and 80 million devices used in homes and small offices can be accessed remotely because users rarely change the default administrative passwords.
Attackers can easily locate lists of default passwords for just about every brand of wireless router sold or distributed by Internet service providers.
With access to your router, a hacker can intercept the information passing through your network, which could include your social security number, credit card information, and more.
If you never changed your default password, now's the time to do it, and here's how:
- Identify your router's brand name and model number
- Visit support page on the maker's website
- Search for "administrator password," which should take you to step-by-step instructions on how to change it
- Choose a complex password (one you can't find in a dictionary)