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Inside Scoop: Inside Scoop: Wi-Fi routers susceptible to hacking

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Inside Scoop: Inside Scoop: Wi-Fi routers susceptible to hacking

3:24 /

In this Inside Scoop, CNET's Kara Tsuboi and Seth Rosenblatt discuss the vulnerability of wireless routers. To the shock and dismay of many, they're far more hackable than initially thought, which can leave personal and financial information exposed. Find out why router manufacturers are slow to make security changes and what you can do to protect yourself.

-Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Inside Scoop. I'm CNET's Kara Tsuboi joined by Senior Writer Seth Rosenblatt. -Hi. -Hi. Now, Seth, the recent report came out saying that 13 of the most popular routers that we all use at home are now known as easily hackable. -Uh-hmm. -Tell us about this study. -So, the research from Independent Security Evaluators out of Maryland put out this study where they looked at the most popular routers available, some of them. And they determined that using very common to semi-common security hacks they were able to infiltrate the routers and that could be very serious. -Absolutely serious because when you're at home, you think you're safe, -Uh-hmm. -and therefore doing your banking and your shopping and honestly-- -Absolutely, absolutely. -financial information. -The other issue isn't just for home use that if it's that a lot of these routers are used by small business. -Obviously a lot of credit card information going out over those too. -Absolutely. Absolutely. -So, the other part of the study that was a little disconcerting basically said that there's nothing that we can do about this, a very little least. -There is very little that we can do. The study put a lot of the illness on the router makers, the router vendors, saying that they really have to start paying attention to security and if they don't, they're leaving their customers which basically means all of us out on a limb. -But at the same time there's not a lot of incentive for these router makers to update their technology that quickly, right? -Absolutely. One of the big problems is that even when the router vendors do the right thing and they put out the firmware update, there's no automatic firmware update process. So, you still have to go to their website, download the firmware, install it on the router yourself. And one thing that independence security evaluators wrote was that they think that the router vendors should make this an automatic update process. -Well, it seems like the other part of the problems that these routers are typically very cheap. -Uh-hmm. -And they last for a long time and security is not necessarily a selling feature. -Absolutely and it will cost them a lot more money to invest in security and to invest on the kind of features like Windows has or OSX for Mac has where it's automatically updated. -I'm sure we've given these tips a million times, -Uh-hmm. -but how about some very basic tips of what you can do to browse safely? -Browsing safely is-- when we're talking about router hacking, there's not much that you can do because your internet signal is being intercepted at the beginning but things you can do are used 2 different browsers for your financial and mission critical browsing such as e-mails going to your banking site and use a second browser for casual browsing. I prefer using Chrome and Firefox but there's a lot of good browsers out there. -And what about changing your network name and password as frequently as you can? -Uh-hmm. Changing with network name and password is a good idea. It's a very good idea if you can on your router to change your admin password as well. If you can use a password that has spaces in it, do that, that's a more secure than using one long word that has multiple characters in it and you know, unusual characters. Also, some routers that you change the username from admin to something else if you can do that, that's also recommended. -Yeah. Just extra steps before the hackers have to get through. -Absolutely. -Thank you so much, Senior Writer Seth Rosenblatt. -Thank you. -I'm Kara Tsuboi. Thanks for watching the Inside Scoop.

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