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Why an outdated router can compromise your company's security

In today's digital age, where interconnectivity is the norm, routers act as custodians of business information. These devices, which can sometimes be undervalued, control data traffic between our devices and the global network. However, recent events have highlighted vulnerabilities that may affect a large number of routers, raising concerns about the protection of sensitive information handled by enterprises.

In February this year, researchers discovered a vulnerability affecting the wpa_supplicant software, an open-source program that implements protection mechanisms for Wi-Fi networks, such as WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). This flaw allowed hackers to create fake Wi-Fi networks that mimicked the original network, which connected users automatically without their knowledge. Once connected, hackers could intercept data traffic and access sensitive information, infect the network with malware or ransomware, compromise emails, or perpetrate credential theft. While this vulnerability has been reported to the vendor and patched, older devices may still be susceptible to such attacks. 

4 security risks in older routers

Routers have undergone a remarkable evolution over time, incorporating more and more advanced features. However, despite being an indispensable device for the correct functioning of business networks, they sometimes suffer from creeping obsolescence, as they tend to be forgotten as soon as they have been configured. This poses serious risks for businesses, as they can become vulnerable due to: 

  • Obsolete firmware: Once a device reaches end-of-life (EoL), firmware updates are no longer available. This leaves routers vulnerable to known exploits that, although patched in newer models, are still exploitable in older ones.
  • Weak authentication: It is common for routers to have default usernames and passwords that are often easy to guess or widely known, making it easy for malicious threat actors to gain unauthorized access to the network.
  • Lack of encryption: Some older routers do not implement robust data-transmission encryption protocols, exposing sensitive information in transit.
  • DDoS attacks: Older routers can be used as tools to launch distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, making them unwitting participants in large-scale cyberattacks.

Networks that lack adequate security measures are easy prey for attacks and intrusions. Keeping networks up to date with the latest security solutions significantly reduces their attractiveness to threat actors. Cybercriminals choose easy targets, and unpatched, outdated routers make organizations easy targets. 

Secure, constant, and active monitoring is essential to keep Wi-Fi networks running. This makes it possible to detect and prevent network problems, reduced quality of service, and potential vulnerabilities. In this regard, an ideal Wi-Fi solution should provide comprehensive network visibility and automate the detection and patching process to ensure the network is always protected against the latest threats. This strengthens the security posture of organizations against wireless threats.

If you would like to learn more about how to secure your company's wireless environment, check out our blog posts below:

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