On Your Side Alert: Router Safety

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - How safe is your home router? Cyber experts say it may not be as secure as you think. Some simple steps could keep your private information out of the hands of crooks. If you have internet at home, there's a good chance you have a router to connect your devices. It's that little box that distributes the internet throughout your home.

Cyber expert, DJ Rivera warns, the information running through it makes it just as vulnerable as any electronic device. "You can never make it a 100 percent safe. What you can do is just make it more difficult for an attacker to figure it out," he tells us.

Rivera says hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities in home routers. He says for cyber criminals, it's not difficult, in fact, there are devices that will help them crack into your system within seconds. "So, I am connected in and when you log into your bank or your email and all those connections, I can see them," Rivera explains.

There are three security features with home routers: WEP, WPA, and WPA2. WEP is the weakest and WPA2 is the most secure. "The recommendation would be as soon as you get a router, configure it so that it is using WPA2 for authentication," Rivera says.

He says don't just assume your router is secure. Check to make sure it is set to the WPA2 setting - if you don't have that option, Rivera says it's time to buy a new router. "If you are already a victim the best thing you can do is reset the router to factor default. After that, enable WPA2, change the administrative password and then do the same thing with your computer. Reset you computer to factor settings and start from scratch," Rivera says.

Another important tip, make sure you change the routers default password. If you haven't -- crooks don't even need to hack into it, all they need to do is a Google search for your router and default passwords. "It always kind of a race. The defenders catch up and come up with something more secure, then the attackers are going to catch up with that," he says.

Rivera says most new routers come installed with the WPA2 security feature -- but you should still double check to make sure. If you received a router from your internet service provider, contact the company to make sure you are using the most secure settings.

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