It’s important to take your router password as seriously as you would take your laptop or email credentials—not least because some routers allow remote administration access by default. That means even people who are not logged on to your home network may be able to manage the router so long as they can guess the password. Still, router security isn’t entirely about passwords—it encompasses all the same concerns we worry about with our personal computers, including weak credentials, software vulnerabilities, and slow patching mechanisms. Despite the near ubiquity of wireless routers, however, we very rarely discuss, let alone understand, how to keep them secure.
Part of what makes router security hard—and important—is that we’re constantly interacting with other people’s routers. You may practice good security with your personal devices, but odds are that at some point you’ll want to join a wireless network at a coffee shop or airport or hotel, at which point you’ll be dependent on how well they protect their networks. Hotels, in particular, are notorious for having poor network security, and in March, there were reports of vulnerable wireless routers at hundreds of hotels worldwide.
It’s an easy guess that most PJMedia and/or VodkaPundit readers are tech-savvy enough to have their routers proper secured — but if you have any doubts at all, read the whole Slate piece and get your bottom fully covered.
But that second graf, the stuff about hotel WiFi security, can’t be stressed often enough. Every time you use a public WiFi connection, whether it’s in a hotel, your local fast food or coffee joint, or internet cafe, then immediately your own security is only as good as theirs is. Odds are everything is unencrypted, and Lord Only Knows if there is any security at all on their router.
I’ve found that it’s only slightly more expensive to refuse public WiFi connections and to rely on your metered LTE service instead. And in the long run it could prove to be far less expensive.