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Is Your Cisco or LinkSys Router Spying on You? – Tech Thursday

Do you have a Cisco brand router, like LinkSys, that you bought from WalMart or Target? Did you just recently install a software update to it or opted for automatic updates? If yes, then you and many others are using their new cloud service now for setting up and maintaining that router. And Cisco maybe watching you and selling your data.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A recent Cisco software update for their LinkSys line of  routers removes your control of the router and has you use their new cloud service to make changes to the router. The update was not once you were allowed to opt out of. It basically overdid your own password on your won router forcing you to sign up for this new service. The thinking was so you could have access to your router anytime from anywhere. Sounds nice, but if it’s at the cost of my privacy, and the heavy handed way they did it, taking away my access to my connection management, then that is not OK. They would have access to your browsing history as well as to be able to override any changes you would want to make to your router to open ports for games to be able to access the internet, or even file sharing.

There was a user outcry and they have since changed their minds and yanked the update, but they still say they reserve the right to change it back, without notice. But Cisco has also given out the info on how to revert back to the older software. For technically savvy users, this is all fine and dandy. But for those that are not, they may not even realize the possible invasion of privacy here and be more inclined to keep the service out of a need for convince.

While Cisco is just one for a couple dozen companies making and selling routers, cloud services are all the rage, and while for the most part cloud services are ok, this kind of thing is not. This is the kind of thing I was worried about with the movement to the cloud. But hopefully other companies don’t go this way, or at least think about how t protect user privacy. Just think if they are pressured by lobbying groups like the RIAA to allow them to brick your device if they think you are pirating their music. Then it becomes a whole different story.


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