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Router Firmware Updates

When was the last time you updated the firmware on your router?

In a joint effort, federal regulators, both in the UK and the USA released a warning about ‘man in the middle’ attacks. A man in the middle attack is not anything new but hackers have recently shown a great interest in this type of attack because of some new security holes. In addition, if you own the router- you own the network. If you think Google, Facebook, and other companies have a lot of information on you, think about having all that information traffic through one device. That would be your router. So how do you make sure your router is secure?

Homeowners:

First, find out what brand and model of router you have connected to your ISP. Then check to see if your router and your ISP modem are the same device. Then determine who owns that device. Some ISP’s rent you either a modem, router, or both in a single device. If you own your router and that device is over 5 years old, it is time for a replacement. The features available today along with the enhanced security available with today’s firmware make it a worthwhile investment. You can expect to pay $100 to $200 to replace the device. If your device is 4 years old or newer, you should update your firmware. Most likely, your manufacturer has a help document that will guide you through updating firmware and what software to download. Once you have logged into the device, the firmware can be downloaded for updating. Like changing the batteries in your smoke detectors, you should be updating your firmware 1 to 2 times a year. This process will improve security, but it can also improve the performance of the device.

If you rent your device, you need to find out from your internet provider who is responsible for updating the firmware of your router. Most of the time you are responsible but the ISP may assist you in performing the update. If you are renting and your device is older than 5 years it would be a good idea to ask for an upgraded device.

Business Owners:

Typically, businesses have commercial grade routers independent of their ISP. You can set these devices to update automatically, which most companies do not like because it is unreliable. Due to the complexity of commercial firewalls, we recommend that a person familiar with the device perform the upgrade. Sometimes firmware updates will fail or cause issues with some services. Bennett Office technicians perform firmware updates at scheduled times when the customer approves downtime and a reversion can take place before anything major is affected. Over the past few years, this process has improved and the updates have caused fewer issues. If you wish to try it on your own, please visit the manufacturer’s website for complete instructions. Review the steps in the process and be sure to create a backup so that you can revert to a previous state if something goes wrong. It is a good idea to save this documentation in a folder that has your quarterly or semi-annual tasks. You may also want to create your own instructions based on the manufacture instructions to help you the next time. Remember to change the default password and document those changes.

We recommend Sonicwall firewalls and use them almost exclusively. You can review some case studies here. We use global management software for change control, threat reporting, and offline monitoring.

If you need help updating your firewall, router or have other network questions, please feel free to give us a call at 320-235-6425. We can help you remotely or schedule an on-site visit.

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