Sky, Virgin and EE customers are urged to check their routers
Millions of broadband users can be at risk of a cyber attack from aging internet routers in their home. Those are the latest findings from a new report from consumer group Which? which says that outdated equipment provided by some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) has serious security flaws that can make it easy for hackers to access personal information or lead people to malicious websites.
ISPs, including EE, Sky, Virgin Media, and Vodafone, were all found to have old equipment still in use with problems such as weak default passwords and a lack of firmware updates – which protect devices from new threats – just some of the problems discovered.
Which? says it examined 13 old router models and found that more than two-thirds, nine of them, were defective. These issues would likely make them fail to meet the requirements proposed in upcoming government laws to address the security of connected devices. This new legislation has yet to come into effect, so ISPs are currently not breaking any laws.
Another concern is that what? also found that a whopping 2.4 million users have not had a router upgrade in the past five years.
If you think your equipment is well past its sell-by date, it is a good idea to call your ISP and ask if they offer an upgrade to the latest kit. Not only is it faster and more powerful, but it should also fix any security nightmares.
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When which? contacted the ISPs with their findings, most of them saying they monitor security risks and provide updates as needed.
Aside from Virgin Media, none of the ISPs. Which one? contacted gave a clear indication of the number of customers using their old routers. Virgin said it was the findings of the Which? research and that nine out of ten customers are using the latest Hub 3 or Hub 4 routers.
One company that did better was BT, with all devices being regularly upgraded.
BT told which one? that older routers will still receive security patches if problems are found – although Which? found an unresolved vulnerability on the EE (part of the BT Group) Brightbox 2 router.
Speaking of the report, Kate Bevan, which one? Computer editor said, “Given our increased dependence on our Internet connections during the pandemic, it is worrying that so many people are still using outdated routers that can be exploited by criminals.
“Internet service providers should be much clearer about how many customers are using legacy routers and encourage people to upgrade devices that pose security risks.
“Proposed new government laws to address devices with poor security cannot come fast enough – and must be backed by strong enforcement.”
Weak Passwords – Affected Devices: TalkTalk HG533 • TalkTalk HG523a • TalkTalk HG635 • Virgin Media Super Hub 2 • Vodafone HHG2500 • Sky SR101 • Sky SR102 •
Lack of updates – affected devices: Sky SR101 • Sky SR102 • Virgin Media Super Hub • Virgin Media Super Hub 2 • TalkTalk HG523a • TalkTalk HG635 • TalkTalk HG533
Network Vulnerabilities – Affected Devices: EE Brightbox 2
The three routers that passed security tests: BT Home Hub 3B • BT Home Hub 4A • BT Home Hub 5B
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