If you’re like most Americans, you probably access the internet most of the time from your home’s wireless network. While this is a nice convenience, having a router (the device that sends out the wi-fi connection signal) opens up some security vulnerabilities that you need to proactively protect against.
Whether your internet service provider gives you a router to use or if you have your own, from time to time there can be different types of router-based vulnerabilities that emerge, potentially putting your browsing privacy and information at risk.
A New Router Vulnerability: The Misfortune Cookie
A new vulnerability has been discovered that affects a least 12 million home or small office routers called the Misfortune Cookie (CVE-2014-9222). This vulnerability can be exploited to give an intruder remote access to a home router and can be used to attack different devices that are connected to that router.
If the attacker can exploit this Misfortune Cookie Vulnerability on your router, the attacker will now be in the middle between you and the internet. The attacker could see all information flowing in and out of that router. This could enable them to capture usernames/passwords, sensitive banking information, and many other types of highly sensitive information flowing though the router.
What can you do about it?
1. Check to see if your router model is on the vulnerability list:
2. Check with the maker of your router to see if they’ve released an update that fixes the Misfortune Cookie Vulnerability.
3. Enable a firewall
A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that helps screen out hackers, viruses that try to reach your computer over the Internet. Most operating systems that come with a PC or an Apple computer have firewall capabilities. Learn more here (http://www.microsoft.com/security/pc-security/firewalls-whatis.aspx)
4. Make sure there is an “https://” at the beginning of your browser’s address bar when visiting a site.
This simply indicates that the site you are browsing has extra security protocols in place to protect your information shared on the site. This is especially important on sites where provide sensitive information (like your financial institution’s website or an online store).
5. Update all of your software regularly and use an antivirus program
Software programs also have potential to create security risks if they are not updated on a regular basis. Whenever there is an update for software you have, it’s always a best practice to install the update. The same goes for your antivirus software. Always make sure it’s up to date and running on your machine / device.