The vast majority of internet users admit that they don't have a password protecting their home Wi-Fi connection, possibly leaving them open to potential cyberattacks, new research has found.
A report from PC Matic found 89% of people don’t have a password set up on their router, while 7% weren’t even sure if they had a password or not.
Changing passwords also seems to be an issue, as only 9% of users that said they do protect their Wi-Fi with a password have never actually changed it. Furthermore, 9% admit they wouldn't know how to do that, and 37% haven’t changed their passwords since initially setting the router up and replacing the factory settings.
Basic internet security
However it isn't all bad news, as there are some people who pay more attention to the cybersecurity of their virtual premises. Almost a quarter (23%) said to be changing their Wi-Fi passwords once a year, and a further fifth (22%) once a month (up 4% year-on-year).
Securing the router is arguably the most important thing to do, when defending your home, or business, from cyber-incursions. Routers serve as the hub for all internet-connected endpoints, such as computers, smartphones, but also IoT devices such as smart speakers, smart home appliances, and others.
With an unsecured router, a threat actor could not only use up all the data and slow the performance of the network down, but could also use known vulnerabilities in the routers, or in the devices themselves, to access sensitive data, or even steal it for future identity theft and similar cyberattacks.
Besides protecting the home Wi-Fi with a password, users are advised to regularly update the firmware of their routers, as these updates protect the devices from dangerous vulnerabilities.
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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.