The Router Attack

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In the middle of recording, I got a nasty, little surprise. All day long, my Comcast router/gateway had been under attack. I hadn’t known until I thought to do some investigating about the story of NSA-made malware used by other parties to attack particular router/gateways. Quite a bonkers way and time to find your firewall so busy…

Throughout the episode, a tone leads pieces of a recording I used to test some nifty hardware that records phone calls. If you’re curious about such things, “RTTS” is the magic set of letters you’ll need to find your own device.

That phone call was my exploring just how a consumer at home looks into the life of their big business router/gateway. Mine is from Comcast, so I called Comcast – the first tone precedes the tier one gal handing me immediately to a wireless specialist. Both reps were stellar.

As the second rep walks me through some fairly straightforward hyperlink clicking, we find a record of firewall activity. What occurred to me long after recording the episode is the timeframe of activity was included in every range of time except “yesterday.” That means it happened only that day.


News that day was mostly dry except for one nugget with huge implications: Malware the NSA made was used to attack routers. Researchers found the evidence that UPnP routers were common targets. On face value, “meh,” most would say.

A deeper think spells the danger of 5G routers that will mostly be outside of our residential control. Those gateways will primarily be located on utility poles. For malware to be detected on at-home gateways is already hard enough; but ever securing a public gateway is nearly impossible.

During the music break quite some time after, I research a few simple ways to secure at-home routers today. Methods exist but they’re clunky. There’s not much that’s streamlined about the process since gateways aren’t setup like personal PC’s. I discover a day’s worth of router attacks on my router; millions of attacks since the beginning of the day – maybe since reading up on the NSA-made malware attacks even though my UPnP is deactivated and the default user:password combo is changed.


In the episode before my surprise, I go into some detail for dummies about antenna and why new consumer routers have so many! One router with no visible antenna is the Norton Core that offers some router protection but sits after the big company gateway device.

All in all, this episode is utterly a concern of today with forecasting to 5G relevance and might wander too much for tech-savvy listeners. I enjoyed recording it and fully expect follow ups!

Home Routers Under Attack by NSA-Spawned Malware: What to Do
What is MU-MIMO and why you need it in your wireless routers
Norton Core Router | Secure WiFi Router
Didn’t track down that whitepaper link – sorry for the omission.

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