Avoid Purchasing Walmart-Exclusive Routers Made in China

A new router can be a great way to boost your internet speeds and the reliability of your connection. But when you’re searching for a new router for your home network, make sure you avoid purchasing Walmart-exclusive routers, as well as other off-brand routers you might find on sites like Amazon or eBay. Otherwise, you might find yourself requiring local computer network repairs in Phoenix, AZ.

Here’s an overview of what you should know about these routers and why it’s important to avoid them.

Analyzing the warning signs

Walmart offers a series of exclusive routers as a way to give customers more “affordable” network devices. However, analysts have discovered these routers tend to have a backdoor that would enable attackers to remotely control the router and any devices connected to the network.

While this is the most prominent type of router to feature this issue, it has also been discovered in Wavlink brand routers, often found on Amazon and eBay. Wavlink routers feature a script that lists nearby wi-fi networks, and offers the ability to connect to them.

The researchers who discovered these backdoors analyzed them thoroughly and found that, in some cases, these backdoors are already being actively exploited, and that some attackers have been attempting to add the devices to a Mirai botnet. Mirai is a form of malware that attacks devices that are connected into a network with the goal of essentially turning them into remotely controlled bots, which they then connect to a large-scale network or “botnet” used for widely coordinated attacks. This strategy was used in a famous 2016 cyberattack that crashed websites like Netflix, CNN, Reddit, Twitter and Airbnb.

The initial research into these cheaper Chinese routers started as a security check. Upon discovering the vulnerabilities, the next step was to determine where those vulnerabilities came from and the potential steps an attacker could use to exploit them. They also discovered that the same firmware used in the Wavlink routers was used in the Walmart Jetstream devices.

There is not much available information about Jetstream, other than that it has an exclusive deal with Walmart. It’s not clear which Chinese company produces the products sold under its brand labels. Wavlink is a tech company based in Shenzhen, China, with a business center in Hongkong and a research facility in California.

The hidden backdoors that affect these devices could be affecting millions of routers across the globe.

Ultimately, the best thing you can do before purchasing a router is conduct a bit of research into which brands are the most trusted for safety, and go with one of those. While you might not have access to the bottom-shelf savings you get from one of these Chinese brands, you will at least be able to have the peace of mind that your personal information and your devices are safe.

To learn more about what you should know about router safety and brands, contact GeekForce.biz. As a provider of local computer network repairs in Phoenix, AZ, we’re prepared to answer your questions and ensure your devices are well protected.

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