The vulnerabilities in Modern Routers can let scrupulous hackers attack and get access to millions of Wi-Fi routers. One of the elements that make them work is their ability to break down large chunks of data into smaller chunks, based on the network requirements at a specific moment.
But these network plumbing features come with vulnerabilities that users can exploit to send you to malicious sites or tamper with the devices connected to the network.
Mathy Vanhoef, the researcher, found several vulnerabilities, either the way the specifications are implemented in the devices or the specifications themselves. These vulnerabilities leave you at the risk of cyber-attacks. In a single day itself, a cyber attack is launched almost every 39 seconds.
Routers are affected by several known vulnerabilities. Even if a router gets a recent update, many vulnerabilities are not even going to be fixed. The thing that makes matter worse is that exploit mitigation techniques are rarely used.
The routers that had been tested for security flaws include- Netgear, D-Link, Linksys, TP-Link, Asus, Edimax, AVM, and Synology. These routers are used by millions of people across the world. But the worst offender was TP-Link’s Archer AX6000 router and it was found to have 32 security problems. It was closely followed by Synology RT-2600AC with 30 security issues.
In case of a successful router hijack, a hacker will get complete control over all aspects of the user’s internet traffic and also attempt further attacks, such as directing the users to the phishing sites or infecting various other devices connected to the Wi-Fi router.
Which Modern Routers have Which Vulnerabilities?
Netgear’s R6400v2, D7800, and R6700v3 come with many vulnerabilities. D-Link had also posted on their site that they are investigating the reported security problem and give updates on it as soon as possible.
A D-Link spokesperson had also said that the company hasn’t used the affected software in their new router models for many years after a similar vulnerability was discovered in 2015.
A few issues have been detected more than once. Most of the time operating system is out of date for the router. As integrating a new kernel is expensive, no manufacturer updated it. The device software is often outdated since it depends on standard tools on BusyBox.
So, let’s take a look at the most common problems are-
Outdated VPN and multi-media functions
Outdated Linux kernel in the firmware
Presence of hardcore credentials in a plain text format
Over-dependence on older BusyBox functions
Use of weak default passwords, such as ‘admin’
No matter which models you buy, the best things you need to do make is to your router more secure and change the password on the first use. Also, enable automatic updates on your router. It isn’t the perfect solution but it can minimize the risk to some extent.
Where does the Issue Lie?
The problem is with NetUSB, a Linux kernel model that has been designed by KCodes, the Taiwanese company that lets devices, such as network-ready storage or printer, get local network access through the USB port of the router.
Van Amerongen from Sentinel Labs found out that NetUSB listens for not just local-network commands on port 20005 but internet commands, too, without requiring any password or authentication.
He discovered that for creating a memory buffer overflow by specific NetUSB commands on that port number, securing control over the Linux kernel of the router. Surely, that isn’t good. Van Amerongen had admitted that due to technical reasons, doing this the right way was a little tricky but is feasible for all skilled attackers.
The restrictions make it harder to write an exploit for the vulnerabilities but it isn’t impossible. Thus, if you have a Wi-Fi router, you need to check for firmware updates.
How to Deal with Vulnerabilities in Modern Routers?
In this section, we are going to tell you about some security flaws and how to deal with them.
Firmware manages the hardware. It’s an operating system offering instructions for the processors of the router to execute, such as assigning private addresses or relaying internet traffic. However, just as with other operating systems, firmware isn’t bulletproof. You will always find a gap in the code, which can give hackers access to your network.
But routers continuously release updates to fill up the holes. The router might not always update its firmware automatically to the new secure version. So, it will leave your network open to remote attacks by hackers.
For instance, a hacker can change the settings of the router for directing your internet traffic to scrupulous websites. Also, they can give hackers control over your computers and access sensitive details.
So for example, if you access the Netgear Router Setup or some other router setup using the web browser or mobile app in their administrative panel, you should always check the router’s firmware status or if there is any new firmware update available, make sure that you keep it up to date.
Using Default Login Will Leave You Open to Hackers
A router has two audiences, the public, and your devices. As we all know hackers are most active during the time of festivals. So, anyone can get access to your router, locally or remotely, if you use the default login and password of your router.
Furthermore, anyone can find the default login details of your router over the internet even if they do not use the combination of ‘admin’ and ‘password’.
We offer instructions on how to log into the router for changing the default username and password. Use a password manager for creating and storing unique login details.
In case you use a mesh networking kit, there is no web-based back end. You need to change the username and password with the help of the supplied app.
WPS can Open Your Network to Hackers
WPS helps devices connect to the wireless network when you use it for the first time without using a password. Either press a router. Either press a button on the router or use an 8-digit PIN. However, with such easy usage comes consequences. WPS is susceptible to brute-force attacks. It is a trial-and-error method for determining the login info. A hacker can discover the first four digits of your PIN since there are just 1,100 possible combinations. Once they discover 4 digits, they can easily uncover the next 4.
The best solution for this is to update the firmware and disable WPS. The process to disable routers varies from one manufacturer to the other. That is how you can protect yourself from vulnerabilities in Modern Routers.
Remote Access can Invite Hackers
Remote access will let you load the interface of the router over the internet. For example, talking about the Netgear Routers they mainly have the default username as “admin” and the default password is “password” and due to this anyone who will try to do a new New Netgear Router Setup, can easily invite hackers that can get access from anywhere and change the username and password to route the internet traffic to nefarious websites.
You will find Remote Access controls in the Administration section of the router for disabling the feature. Switch it back on when you plan to travel and toggle it off as soon as you return.
Router Broadcasts the Model Number
Tap or click on the Wi-Fi icon of the device and chances are you can identify some names on the lists: NETGEAR, Linksys, and so on. The router owners never changed the default SSID name which is the public name and wireless networks.
That is an issue because when someone sees NETGEAR or Linksys will know that someone is the owner of these routers. Search the internet to learn about the default SSID and login pair. Use the information for accessing the router and get the login credentials of the network.
Usually, you should change the name of the network to something other than the default. Rename it to anything you want, no matter it is something simple or a label that will annoy neighbors. Change the SSID through the mobile app that the manufacturer provides or by accessing the web interface.
Most of the Vulnerabilities in Modern Routers were with the firmware of the router. Researchers found that the sheer number of vulnerabilities was caused by a combination of dependence on open-source projects for a lack of vigorous patching and code.
Protecting the network is going to be a challenge and it is going to be more so with remote employees joining the ranks of the organization. All vendors are working on their routers to some extent and even though not many follow-up tests have been conducted, the firmware updates can fill up the gap.
Make sure the firmware is up to date to sort out the bugs and flaws that you read in the research papers. Some vendors are spending more effort and time on their updates in comparison to others. In the end, all vendors are going to make some contributions to fix the issues.
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Hi I’m Shiva Kumar, I have been following tech news since past 10 years. I’m expert in Digital Marketing and Cyber Security. And I support Lakers “have gun-will travel”.