One Thing Your Router Needs Now To Keep Hackers Out

There's a gadget in your home that you would be lost without. You don't give much thought to it until it stops working. Then you curse it, reboot it and watch it spring back to life -- or not.

It's your router, your lifeline to the internet. It is an essential component in our internet-connected households and businesses. Much like our operating systems, software and apps are constantly updated to thwart security threats, your router running 24/7 receives its share of updates too.

Unfortunately, router update notifications do not hit you over the head like other things. There is no red exclamation mark notifying you of an issue or message that pops up asking if you'd like to apply an update. By the way, router updates are called firmware because it is embedded into a piece of hardware.

This mini-computer that directs traffic over networks sits vulnerable unless you take action.

Consider what is connected to your network. There is your computer, tablet, phone and television, for starters.

Add to this the surge in internet-connected you-name-its from cameras, light bulbs, refrigerators, to even a Wi-Fi ready slow cooker comes with an app.

Hackers are continually looking for targets. Armed with just a few details that are readily available online, your personal files and devices are at risk. It only takes knowing a router's IP address and administrative password to get on a network. A simple Google search is all it takes to find both for just about any router make and model.

With this information, an attacker can steal your files, peek through a webcam or worse. Once a router manufacturer learns of an exploit such as this, they release a firmware update.

However, there is more that an attacker can do tapping into an outdated router. They can start sniffing data that's passing to and from the...

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