Avast Research Discovers 79 Percent of American Home Networks are at Risk of Cybersecurity Attacks

Router vulnerabilities and weak passwords allow easy access to home networks

REDWOOD CITY, CA, Nov. 5, 2014 – Four out of five Internet-connected households in the United States are at risk of getting attacked through their wireless router, according to a recent study conducted by Avast Software, maker of the most trusted mobile and PC security in the world.

"Unsecured routers create an easy entry point for hackers to attack millions of American home networks," said Vince Steckler, chief executive officer of Avast. "Our research revealed that the vast majority of home routers in the US aren’t secure. If a router is not properly secured, cybercriminals can easily gain access to an individual’s personal information, including financial information, user names and passwords, photos, and browsing history."

Avast found that more than half of all routers are poorly protected by default or common, easily hacked password combinations such as admin/admin or admin/password, or even admin/<no-password>. Surveying more than 2,000 households in the U.S., Avast found that an additional 25 percent of consumers use their address, name, phone number, street name, or other easily guessed terms as their passwords.

One of the biggest risks on any Wi-Fi network is DNS hijacking. Malware is used to exploit vulnerabilities in a user’s unprotected router and surreptitiously redirects the user from a known site, such as a bank website, to a fake site that looks just like the real thing. When the user logs in, thieves capture the user’s login credentials and then use them to access the real site.

"Today’s router security situation is very reminiscent of PCs in the 1990s, with lax attitudes towards security combined with new vulnerabilities being discovered every day creating an easily exploitable environment. The main difference is people have much more personal information stored on their devices today than they did back then. Consumers need strong yet simple-to-use tools that can prevent attacks before they happen," said Steckler.

According to the survey, less than half of Americans strongly believe their home network is secure and 16 percent of respondents reported that they have fallen victim to hackers. Survey respondents reported that the consequences of a breach could be severe, and reported that they are most concerned about their bank or financial information being stolen (42%), losing personal information (33%), having their browsing history stolen (11%), and getting their photos hacked (9%).

To address these issues, Avast recently introduced Avast 2015, which includes the world’s first Home Network Security Solution that protects users from home network threats including DNS hijacking and weak passwords. Avast 2015 is available in free and paid versions at www.avast.com