Back in February 2014, almost 13,000 Asus routers were compromised when hackers realised they could easily take control of the flawed devices remotely. The vulnerabilities were well documented, but it’s entirely possible your own router is still at risk. Here’s what you need to do to stop an Asus router being hacked.
See also: Best routers to buy right now
How to stop an Asus router being hacked: the problem
Like many router manufacturers (but by no means all) Asus uses some basic default credentials so you can easily set up the router when you unbox it. The problem is that a lot of people don’t bother or don’t realise the risks, so leave the username and password both set to admin.
Asus’ AiCloud and AiDisk services allow you to remotely access the router as well as files on a hard drive connected to the router’s USB port. The problem is that it wasn’t difficult for hackers to do the same, and Asus updated the firmware after a while to address the problem.
If you were unaware of all of this, you should check and change your username and password, as well as update to the latest firmware
How to change username and password on an Asus router
On a PC connected to the router either wirelessly or using an Ethernet cable, fire up a web browser and type 192.168.1.1 in the address bar. This is the default IP address for Asus routers. If you have difficulty, see how to connect to a router for more information.
You should see a prompt to enter your username and password – these will be admin and admin unless you changed them already.
The first time you connect you should have seen a “Quick Internet Setup” wizard which prompts you to enter a new password, your ISP details and to set a password for Wi-Fi.
If you didn’t see this, or left the password as admin, now’s the time to change it.
When you get to the router’s main page (above) scroll down and click on Administration from the left-hand menu. Now you can change the Router Login Name and enter a New Password and confirm it in the Retype New Password field.
How to update the firmware on an Asus router
At the top of the page (it shouldn’t matter which settings page you’re looking at) you should see ‘Firmware version’ with a long number to the right of it. Clicking on the number will take you to the Firmware Upgrade page.
Since we’ve heard reports that the ‘Check’ button next to Firmware Version isn’t too reliable, it’s best to head to Asus’ website and see if there’s a newer firmware.
First, enter your router’s model number, such as DSL-AC68U, click on it in the results, then click on the Driver Tools tab. Now click the Firmware link, select the version of Windows your PC is running and check if there is a firmware version with a higher number than version reported in the Firmware Version box. In our case, the router was running 126.96.36.199.376_2072 and the latest version was 188.8.131.52.378_9212:
Once the file is downloaded, you’ll need to unzip it by right-clicking on it in Windows Explorer (or File Explorer in Windows 8 or 10) and choosing Extract all… and picking a location for the saved file which should have a .trx ending.
Now, return to the Firmware Upgrade page and click the Choose file button, navigate to the folder where it’s saved and click the Upload button.
When uploaded, you will see a progress bar of the upgrade, which should take about three minutes. After that you’ll see a prompt to manually reboot the router and the firmware update will be complete.