Recommended router has security flaws?
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.