Your in-home router/modem may be the most insecure piece of hardware you own. Luckily, there is an easy fix although it isn’t cheap for many people: replace your present router’s internal software with a security-focused product, such as the free and open code, DD-WRT. The expense arises from the fact that most routers cannot easily replace the internal software. If you are one of the majority who owns a non-modifiable router, you will have to purchase a new router (which is a good idea anyway) and then install DD-WRT or a similar product yourself. If you are one of the fortunate few who do own a router that allows for modifying the internal software, you can upgrade to DD-WRT at no charge. Another alternative is that a few companies will sell new routers with DD-WRT or similar software already installed.
You can read much more about this topic in You Absolutely Must Secure Your Home Router and You Probably Can’t in the BoingBoing.net web site at: http://bit.ly/2Cpdspj. That article provides an overview in plain English of a somewhat more technical article, How to Protect Your Home Router from Attacks, by Lucian Constantin, available at: http://bit.ly/2CBh36N.
For the past 3 or 4 months, I have been using DD-WRT installed in a Linksys WRT3200ACM DD-WRT FlashRouter. It includes all the security enhancements of DD-WRT plus it also has a VPN installed. Not only are all connections from my desktop computer, laptop computer, tablet, and even my cell phone protected by the VPN, but even my Roku box, Apple TV, VoIP telephone, security video cameras, and even the Nest thermostat in my home are now connected to the Internet via a safe and secure VPN connection.
(I am not sure why a thermostat needs a VPN connection but it was available so I said, “Why not?”)
I took the easy way out: I didn’t install the DD-WRT software or the VPN software myself. I needed a new router anyway so I purchased the Linksys WRT3200ACM router with both DD-WRT and also Private Internet Access VPN software pre-installed from FlashRouters at: http://bit.ly/2CEzRSP.
After several months of usage, I can report that the new router works flawlessly. All I had to do was take it out of the box, connect it, make one change in the router’s menus to change the default password, and start using it. Since the day I installed the router, I haven’t needed to change anything else or to re-boot it. It just works.
I could have saved a few dollars by purchasing a Linksys WRT3200ACM at a local computer store or from Amazon and then installing the (free) DD-WRT software and the VPN software myself. However, that would have been more complex, increasing the odds of encountering difficulties. I also already had a Private Internet Access VPN account. (If you do not already have a Private Internet Access VPN account, you can sign up when you install the new router.)
I elected to purchase the simpler, although more expensive, solution of purchasing everything pre-installed and with technical support available from FlashRouters. So far, I haven’t needed the technical support but I do like the fact that it is available.
Question: How secure is your router?