04-05-2014 01:31 AM
IDG News Service - Home routers and other consumer embedded devices are plagued by basic vulnerabilities and can't be easily secured by non-technical users, which means they'll likely continue to be targeted in what has already become an increasing trend of mass attacks.
Computer OSes have advanced considerably from a security standpoint over the last decade, with their creators strengthening code and adding a variety of protections. However, routers, modems, wireless access points and other "plug-and-forget" devices have lagged behind as their makers lacked strong incentives to secure them. As a result, those devices can now pose a significant threat to the online security of users, contrary to the long-held belief that connecting a computer through a home router is better than exposing it directly to the Internet.
Routers and other embedded devices have not been on attackers' radar until now, at least not on a significantly large scale. That's starting to change and if the attacks observed this year are any indication, it might be happening at a faster pace than manufacturers can react.
Because routers can affect all other local devices that access the Internet through them, they are a rich target, said Trey Ford, global security strategist at security firm Rapid7, via email.
"Users expect a website to be authentic, and a compromised router (DSL router, gateway, wireless access point, cable modem -- take your pick) allows a malicious party to undermine that trust. The trend of connecting more devices to the Internet only means there is more for attackers to play with."
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