Feds allege security flaws in top brand routers and cameras

As 2016 was winding down to an end, we warned you about the top three cybersecurity threats that will plague the upcoming year. Ransomware was at the top of the list, but a close runner-up was a new form of cyberattack that we've only just received a glimpse of.

They're called DDoS attacks, or Distributed-Denial-of-Service attacks, and lackluster security for private home routers is one of the key ways hackers execute them. Weak passwords, outdated firmware and other gaps within your network leave the back door open for hackers, so to speak, allowing them to infect your smart home devices with malware.

It's not just your computer that's at risk anymore. Printers, DVRs, webcams, security cameras, baby monitors, smart TVs, etc., can all be infected these days.

Now, the Federal Trade Commission is warning that D-Link routers and security cameras could have been contributing to this problem for quite some time now. The FTC has filed a complaint, stating thousands of individuals have been put at risk due to significant gaps in security.

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KEEP YOUR PASSWORDS STRONG AND VARIED

If your password is easy for you to remember, then it'll be easy for hackers, too. Try using symbols, numbers and capital letters throughout your passcode. Also, experts suggest you use different passwords for different accounts. 

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EMPLOY TWO-STEP AUTHENTICATION

Add another layer of security by having another code sent to your phone number before you can sign in.

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BEWARE OF PUBLIC WIFI

If you're traveling, verify with the coffee shop or hotel that the wi-fi name is valid -- many cybercriminals set up networks with similar names to popular spots. You can also set up a private VPN that encrypts all of your data that passes through the network.

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COVER YOUR TRACKS

Wipe your hard drive clean before giving away, recycling or throwing out your old laptop or computer.

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DON'T LEAVE YOUR DEVICES UNATTENDED

That's just asking for trouble!

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BEWARE OF MYSTERIOUS URLS IN EMAILS

Don't ever click on URL from an unidentified or sketchy looking email. 

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COVER YOUR WEBCAM 

FBI director James Comey suggests placing a piece of tape over your webcam when you're not using it. If that doesn't convince you, note that Mark Zuckerberg is known to do the same.

KEEP YOUR SOFTWARE UP TO DATE

Hackers target vulnerabilities in software, which are often resolved in software updates, so stop hitting the "ignore" or "remind me later" button!

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These gaps, according to the report, are well known and "easily preventable flaws," that could allow hackers access to your private home network.

D-Link has denied the claims made by the FTC, however, we doubt the FTC would make such allegations without reason. The fact that the FTC has singled out D-Link is also cause for concern.

In a world where DDoS attacks are becoming a larger threat, it's likely that the FTC is simply nudging manufacturers to incorporate greater security measures into their products.

For now, however, we can't recommend that you use D-Link routers or security cameras. Here's a list of three alternative router options.

This story also brings to light the importance of securing your home router, regardless of the brand. Click here for three reasons your router might need an upgrade, and follow this tip to keep hackers out of your private home network.

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