Rec­om­mended router has se­cu­rity flaws?

TechLife Australia - - THE WALL -

In the July is­sue Buyer’s Guide, TechLife rec­om­mends the Net­gear Nighthawk X8 D8500 as the best pre­mium mo­dem-router. How­ever, af­ter read­ing more on it, I have found out that the model has se­ri­ous vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties.

This con­cerns me greatly, not only be­cause I can­not find any as­sur­ance that the prob­lems have since been solved, but also be­cause I have pre­vi­ously trusted TechLife’s rec­om­men­da­tions and re­views.

[ KEN BIRD ]

Ed replies: Se­cu­rity is an al­most never-end­ing bat­tle in to­day’s tech scene. Do a lit­tle Googling and you’ll find that al­most ev­ery ma­jor router maker (in­clud­ing D-Link, Linksys, TP-Link and ASUS) has had se­ri­ous vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties un­cov­ered — and patched — in its prod­ucts over the course of 2017. Af­ter in­ves­ti­gat­ing the Net­gear D8500 specifically, we found that, while a flaw was un­cov­ered in it ear­lier this year, that prob­lem has been patched. (Last De­cem­ber, a more wide­spread se­cu­rity is­sue was also un­cov­ered and af­fected about a dozen older Net­gear routers — that’s also been rec­ti­fied thanks to a sub­se­quent firmware up­date.)

Sadly, these vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties oc­cur in many dig­i­tal de­vices and pro­grams, not just net­work­ing gear, but smart­phones, we­b­cams, apps (both desk­top and mo­bile), the Win­dows OS, An­droid and even iOS... Ba­si­cally, any piece of soft­ware or any hard­ware de­vice with a sim­ple op­er­at­ing sys­tem can have se­cu­rity holes, which can of­ten go undis­cov­ered for months or even years.

While we en­deav­our to be as thor­ough as pos­si­ble in our test­ing — in­clud­ing re­view­ing se­cu­rity set­tings and fea­tures — there are cer­tain things we can’t test for, and se­cu­rity bugs in de­vice firmware are one of those.

With dig­i­tal se­cu­rity a con­stantly-shift­ing bat­tle­ground, the only real de­fence is to make sure your de­vices are kept up to date with the lat­est se­cu­rity patches and, where pos­si­ble, that you’re run­ning se­cu­rity soft­ware. For a more de­tailed run­down on se­cur­ing your dig­i­tal de­vices, check out our huge se­cu­rity guide in TechLife #63.

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