Friday, February 10, 2017

Adventures in Router Land

The virii and trojans and  ransomware are getting aggressive this year.  I decided to upgrade the firmware in my router.  Router is a $40 plastic box that plugs into the cable modem and offers WIFI and four internet connectors.  The router faces the raw internet, and needs to reject incoming messages that would take over the router and do evil.  The router acts as a firewall, and if it should be penetrated, the hacker has direct access to the Windows machines plugged into the router.  And Windows is like Swiss cheese, fully of holes.  If the tougher software in the router is compromised, the Windows machines are toast. 
   My router is a NetGear N300 purchased a couple of years ago.  I Googled the router maker name, model number and "firmware".  This gave me an offer to download new firmware.  On this particular router you can talk to it using your web browser.  You put in a special URL and the router picks up and displays a groovy little user interface.  From this I learned that my current firmware was v18 while the new downloaded firmware was v42.  Hmm, been a lot of patching of router code over the last couple of years.   The router offered an "upload firmware" function, which was sorta flaky.  I had to run it two or three times before the upload "took". 
   So, me router firmware is all up to date, which is the best I can do against the swarm of malware running around the internet.  Upgrading the firmware did not mess up any of my computer connections to the router.

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