Netgear Adds Data Collection To R7000 Router Firmware To Get All Up In Your Bits
When many think about the security of their devices, it's easy to look at the obvious targets: desktops, notebooks, mobile devices, and of course, the software on all of them. In reality, one of the most vulnerable pieces of digital equipment in our homes can be the router - an effective entry point that gives access to all of your connected devices.
In a support page update, NETGEAR says that its high-end NightHawk R7000 will begin recording specific information, although it is currently unclear on if the feature can be disabled. On one hand, NETGEAR could be commended for not keeping this under the radar, leaving people to learn of it the hard way, but does the company really need the information it gathers?
To its benefit, NETGEAR doesn't seem to be recording truly sensitive information, with the most notable being the device's serial number. The runner-up may be the IP (external, presumably). If you've applied for a warranty, it means that NETGEAR knows the serial number and IP belongs to you, and can thus know that the information it gathers is yours, specifically.
Per NETGEAR, the R7000 will begin recording: "information regarding the router’s running status, number of devices connected to the router, types of connections, LAN/WAN status, WiFi bands and channels, IP address, MAC address, serial number, and similar technical data about the use and functioning of the router, as well as its WiFi network."
That's an awful lot of information, perhaps even an excessive amount considering that there might not be an opt-out option. If you're not cool with this kind of move, you can voice your opinion by emailing NETGEAR, or by giving them a friendly shout-out on social media. If you want to go the extra mile and replace the firmware on your R7000 (or many other routers), a quick Google search will get you on the right track fast.