Most secure updating routing information

Change the network name, or SSID, from "Netgear," "Linksys" or whatever the default is, to something unique — but don't give it a name that identifies you."If you live in an apartment building in apartment 3G, don't call your SSID 'Apartment 3G,'" Horowitz quipped."Go to /HNAP1/, and, hopefully, you'll get no response back, if that's the only good thing.Frankly, if you get any response back, I would throw the router out." Worst of all is Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), an ease-of-use feature that lets users bypass the network password and connect devices to a Wi-Fi network simply by entering an eight-digit PIN that's printed on the router itself."If your router is given to you by your internet service provider [ISP], you don't want to use it either, because they give away millions of them, and that makes them a prime target both for spy agencies and bad guys." Horowitz recommended that security-conscious consumers instead upgrade to commercial routers intended for small businesses, or at least separate their modems and routers into two separate devices.(Many "gateway" units, often supplied by ISPs, act as both.) Failing either of those options, Horowitz gave a list of precautions users could take.

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Commercial-grade routers are unlikely to have UPn P or WPS enabled.Many consumer-grade home-gateway devices fail to notify users if and when firmware updates become available, even though those updates are essential to patch security holes, Horowitz noted.Some other devices will not accept passwords longer than 16 characters.In and of itself, it's not such a big deal," Horowitz said.But, he added, "UPn P on the internet is like going in for surgery and having the doctor work on the wrong leg." Another problem is the Home Network Administration Protocol (HNAP), a management tool found on some consumer-grade routers that transmits sensitive information about the router over the Web at IP address]/HNAP1/, and grants full control to remote users who provide administrative usernames and passwords (which many users never change from the factory defaults).

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