Computers, smartphones, tablets and millions of other devices in homes across the UK could be at risk from hackers and viruses because many people do not carry out basic security and maintenance on their Wi-Fi routers.
New research by Broadband Genie has discovered that 82% of internet users have never changed the admin password for their router, and 86% have never updated their router firmware.
Overall, more than half (51%) of the respondents said they had never carried out any of the actions listed in the survey.
It is especially dangerous now that smart home devices are growing in popularity. Gagan Singh, SVP & GM Mobile at Avast Software, said “the reality is that many smart devices can be compromised, including thermostats, streaming boxes, webcams and digital personal assistants all through the router – and consumers and small businesses are among the most vulnerable users. The first step is to ensure the gateway into the home, the router, is secure. Otherwise, it can offer cybercriminals an easy way to get into our homes and access our personal information.”
When asked the main reason why they had not made any of these changes, almost half (48%) said did not know why they would need to modify settings on their router and 34% said they did not know how.
Broadband Genie editor Matt Powell said: “An insecure router exposes users to security threats that can impact the broadband service, expose private data and put all connected devices at risk. But router interfaces can be confusing for the average user, so broadband providers should be doing everything they can to help customers who aren’t confident with technology. If nothing else there should be more effort made to explain why router security is so important.”