As many as three quarters of UK households are vulnerable to internet attacks via wireless routers, a new report by Avast Software reveals. The major culprit for this vulnerability: the use of default or commonly used passwords — or even no password at all — leaving routers easily hacked into by cyber-criminals.
This insight comes from a survey of 2,000 UK households, which, in addition to widespread password inadequacy, also uncovered that as many as twenty-three percent of consumers use personal identity information, such as names, phone numbers, addresses, as their passwords.
This lack of precaution is particularly surprising given the prevalent belief among UK consumers that home networks are not secure, and, according to the report, 15 percent believe they have already fallen victim to DNS hijacking.
With DNS hijacking posing as one of the greatest threats to Wi-Fi networks, Avast points out that malware used to exploit unprotected routers will easily capture users' login credentials by using fake websites designed to look “just like the real thing.” And, as wired households in the UK have on average at lease six devices connected to a Wi-Fi network, the need to address such security measures is a critical issue.
“Today's router security situation is very reminiscent of PCs in the 1990s, with lax attitudes towards security combined with new vulnerabilities being discovered every day creating an easily exploitable environment," Vince Steckler, chief executive officer of Avast, commented in an email to SCmagazineUK.com. “The main difference is people have much more personal information stored on their devices today than they did back then. Consumers need strong yet simple-to-use tools that can prevent attacks before they happen.”