How to Ensure Your Home Router Has the Latest Security Updates

December 22, 2014 – 6:42 PM

Keeping your home router updated is a crucial part of staying secure. Shellshock affected a number of routers, and we’ve also seen routers hacked and turned into botnets. Home router security is notoriously poor.

You should ensure your router is getting security updates, too. Depending on your router, you may have to do this by hand, set up automatic updates — or not do anything at all.

Your Router’s Firmware is an OS, and it’s Particularly At Risk

Your router runs a “firmware,” which is essentially its operating system. Quite a few routers are actually built on top of Linux, and that means security vulnerabilities in the Linux kernel or related software — like the Shellshock bug in the Bash shell — could affect your router. Problems can also occur due to poor router firmware design in general, such as the backdoors that have been discovered in routers produced by Linksys, Netgear, and other massive companies.

Home routers are particularly vulnerable because they’re exposed directly to the Internet. Every other device you own is shielded behind the router, and isn’t publicly addressable. Your router essentially functions as a firewall, shielding your other devices from inbound connections by keeping them all to itself. But, by design, your router is the one point in your home network that’s exposed directly to the Internet. As any attacker could contact your router, it’s crucial your router is secure.


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