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Security & privacy

Still using the default Wi-Fi or router password? Change it now

Have you ever been accused of a crime that you didn’t commit? It’s not a great feeling, and it can have serious repercussions with friends and family. Now imagine that you have been accused of a federal crime that could send you to jail for at least 25 years.

How would you defend yourself if you know that you are innocent? And when you throw technology into the mix, it can be difficult to prove otherwise. Digital devices and connected gadgets leave footprints across the internet and can serve as further incriminating evidence.

If you ever needed further proof as to why you should change the default password on your router, let this story from the U.K. serve as a warning. It’s truly shocking.

Here’s the backstory

Blissfully minding their own business, a family from London was startled by a loud knocking on their front door. Face-to-face with several police officers armed with an arrest warrant, the couple got the shock of their lives.

Through the paperwork, the family was flabbergasted to learn that the arrest warrant was issued for cybercrimes. Specifically, distributing images of child abuse. The mother, who is a teacher, was suspended from her job.

The children’s school was also notified of the accusations, and all the electronic devices in their house were confiscated pending the investigation. How the charges came to be leveled against the family is rather astonishing.

Someone hacked into their Wi-Fi to upload photos of child abuse on the internet.

How? Well, when the family set up a new router, they didn’t change the default password that came with it. This allowed a hacker to break into their network and commit serious crimes.

Here’s what you can do about it

After reading about the family’s account, it should go without saying that you should always change the default password on any device connected to the internet. Several manufacturers use a standard set of passwords with minimal variation. Through trial and error, a criminal will breach it.

The factory-set password is only there for you to make the necessary security changes when creating your network. Always change the default password as soon as the connection goes live. It’s never meant to function as a robust security measure.

We’ve previously written about the dangers of not changing your router’s default password. This is a good reminder to do it ASAP if you’ve never changed yours. Tap or click here for instructions on finding your router’s password and changing it.

Here are some more safety precautions everyone should follow:

In case you were wondering what happened to the family that got caught up in this mess, after a long-fought battle, they were cleared and let go.

Add another layer of protection

When it comes to online security, a virtual private network acts as a barrier between you and everyone out there looking to get their hands on your information. When you have a VPN running, it hides your IP address and your location.

It also encrypts your data after it leaves your device and travels to whatever website you’re visiting. Plus, a VPN is great to connect to on public Wi-Fi since it turns an unsecured connection into one that’s safer to use.

Some VPNs collect and sell your data just like all the companies you’re trying to avoid. Be sure to choose a reputable service. We recommend ExpressVPN, a sponsor of Kim’s national radio show. It’s private, secure and doesn’t slow you down. Use Kim’s link to get three extra months free when you sign up for a year.

Keep reading

Stop using that same old password for your online accounts – Try this instead

The best free password manager to use on iPhones, iPads and Macs

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