UK home Wi-Fi security is as bad as PC security was in the 1990s, according to a new study.
Security software firm Avast found that more than half of all routers are poorly protected by default or common, easily hacked password/ID combinations. Easily hacked password combinations such as admin/admin or admin/password, or even admin/<no-password> are commonplace.
The survey of 2,000 UK households also 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.
Unsecured routers create an easy entry point for hackers, opening the door to all kinds of attacks ranging from stealing personal information to hijacking browser sessions.
One of the biggest risks on any Wi-Fi network is DNS hijacking. Malware can be used to screw with DNS settings in order to surreptitiously redirects prospective victims from a known site, such as a bank website, to a counterfeit site controlled by cybercriminals.
A big majority (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.
The Avast poll found that nearly three in four (74 per cent) respondents would be extremely uncomfortable if they found out a neighbour or uninvited guest were secretly logging onto their personal home Wi-Fi network. A minority (8 per cent) admitted they had used a neighbour’s Wi-Fi network without the neighbour’s knowledge or permission.
“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," said Vince Steckler, chief executive officer of Avast. "The main difference is people have much more personal information stored on their devices today than they did back then." ®