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Home routers have become an integral part of our global communications footprint as use of the Internet has grown to include home-based businesses, telework, schoolwork, social networking, entertainment, and personal financial management. Routers facilitate this broadened connectivity. Most of these devices are preconfigured at the factory and are Internet-ready for immediate use. After installing routers, users often connect immediately to the Internet without performing any additional configuration. Users may be unwilling to add configuration safeguards because configuration seems too difficult or users are reluctant to spend the time with advanced configuration settings.
Unfortunately, the default configuration of most home routers offers little security and leaves home networks vulnerable to attack. Small businesses and organizations often use these same home routers to connect to the Internet without implementing additional security precautions and expose their organizations to attack.
Home routers are directly accessible from the Internet, are easily discoverable, are usually continuously powered-on, and are frequently vulnerable because of their default configuration. These characteristics offer an intruder the perfect target to obtain a user’s personal or business data. The wireless features incorporated into many of these devices add another vulnerable target.
The preventive steps listed below are designed to increase the security of home routers and reduce the vulnerability of the internal network against attacks from external sources.
Author: US-CERT Publications