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Malware Knows Your Router Passwords!!!

Discussion in 'Firewalls and Networks' started by Digerati, Jun 13, 2008.

  1. Digerati

    Digerati Super Moderator Techie7 Moderator

    This thread was triggered by the appearance of a new threat to wireless home networks, though it applies to wired routers too. Home networks are simple to set up. That's the problem! Take it out the box, plug it in, reboot, and presto! You are surfing the Internet. With Ethernet (wired) routers, someone would actually have to physically connect to your network to gain access - using the default passwords was (sadly) not perceived as a big threat.

    But today, with wireless access every where, it is paramount users change, at the very least, the administrator password from the factory defaults to a strong (letters, numbers, and special characters) password. Sadly, many don't. That makes those networks "easy pickin's" for bad guys because the default passwords are common knowledge, posted all over the Internet, and in your owner's manual.

    So bad guys and wannabe hackers know all the default names, and now, as reported here, a new variant of the Zlob Trojan does too!

    There are a couple basic things that everyone should do to secure your router, and your wireless network, whether through a wireless router, or a wireless access point (WAP).

    1. Change the default password and, and if allowed, the administrator user name - the defaults are common knowledge.

    2. Change the default SSID or Network Name - same story.

    3. Disable SSID Broadcasting - many routers come with SSID Broadcasting enabled. This allows anybody, including the badguy to drive down your street and see your network. Why advertise you have a wireless network unless you run a wireless cafe?

    4. Use MAC Address Filtering - every network device, such as a network interface card, router, cable modem, etc. has (is supposed to have) a unique MAC address - by using MAC address filtering, you instruct your router to only let that device through.

    5. Enable encryption - use the highest level that all your devices support.

    6. Use Ethernet - most wireless routers include a 4-port Ethernet switch - use that for your fixed (not portable) networked computers. This also ensures you will have access to your router's security settings should wireless access fail. ​
    Will these steps eliminate all risks? NO! But locks are to keep honest people honest. If a bad guy wants in, he's coming in - depending on his tools and skills - and demeanor. But like all bad guys (except for the pure pros) they seek opportunities for easy pickings. Keep your garage door open at night with no lights on and someone is going to see that as easy pickings. Keep the door closed, locked and well lit, 99.9% of the badguys are going to move on. They certainly are not going to park in a strange car out front and point an antenna at you or your neighbor's house without attracting unwanted attention.