Published: August 18, 2020 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.
There’s a saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” There is a more grammatically correct version, but you know the meaning. We all have hardware devices that work, and we see no need to replace them, even if they are decades old. Take our internet routers, for example. They sit there and connect the Internet with your computers, tablets, and mobile phones when we’re home. Well, if you have a Netgear device doing that job for you, it’s a great time to consider replacing it, even if it doesn’t appear to be broken.
Some researchers discovered a significant flaw in almost 80 of the manufacturer’s router models (more accurately called a gateway). They let Netgear know about it and gave them a generous six months to issue patches for the affected gear before making it public. Well, Netgear recently announced that it will not be creating patches for about 45 of them. This is serious since the flaw could allow an attacker to gain remote access to that device. That means, an intruder very well could be roaming around inside your home network unnoticed.
If you have an older Netgear device, it may be running along swimmingly but it is highly recommended that you get a newer model, if you have one of those 45 models that won’t be fixed. There is a complete list at Netgear’s website. If yours is on the list that will not have a patch created, it’s time to upgrade.
The reason Netgear is giving for not fixing them is that they are out of their support period. This does happen. Developers and manufacturers usually support products for a period of time and then they just stop fixing things when they break. That’s when it’s time to replace those. It goes for hardware, like your internet gateway, but also holds true for software products, such as your computer’s operating system.
Companies are constantly updating their products and creating new and supposedly improved versions. They want you to upgrade because the products get better. Something ten years old may not be up to the technological task anymore. And often, the companies just cannot possibly support all of their products forever.
When this happens, upgrade your products. Get the patches applied when they are released and if they company decides they will put a product on its “end of life” list, get a newer one that is supported.
And on the subject of installing new hardware, always immediately change the default password first thing after you plug it in and turn it on. Once you’ve done that, go to the manufacturer’s website and update it right away.
Often these products sit in warehouses or on store shelves for a long time and between that time and when you purchase it, updates could have (and likely have been) released.
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