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Cable Modems & Security

by Mic Johnson

Technology is an ever- evolving and ever-growing entity. Every year, there are more and more new technologies coming out, making the internet better, faster, and easier to use than ever before.

But, just as quickly as the internet is evolving, hackers are also evolving. The newest malware is more sophisticated than its predecessors, which means that you also need to stay on top of it.

Luckily, most modems and routers come with a built-in layer of protection to keep the malware out. We have done quite a bit of research on cable modems and security and this is what we have found out.

DOCSIS Cable Modems

Let’s start off by looking at the DOCISIS-based cable modem systems. The newest standard of this technology is the DOCSIS 3.1, so using the best DOCSIS 3.1 modem router combo will be the best chance of having a high level of security from your modem.

When you are looking for a cable modem, you will not only want to make sure that it is a DOCSIS 3.1 modem, but you will also want to check for all of the important security measures that are out there. What kind of firewall does the modem come with? Is there a VPN or guest access? How can we be sure that our network will be as safe as possible?

You will need to stay diligent about ensuring your modem is as up-to-date as possible with its security features as new updates are happening all of the time. As new malware comes out, the modem manufacturers are standing by, looking for the newest way to attack home networks. They will take whatever new information that they have about the newest malware and send it to you in the form of an update. Always download these updates to be sure that you aren’t missing anything.

Free Internet is too Good to be True

Another thing that you should watch out for is any device that is going to tell you that it can give you free internet. Any type of free internet is likely a scam and will either just take any information that it collected on you and use it nefariously, or the scam might just be to make the ISPs suffer. Either way, proceed with caution.

Many years ago, the United States Department of Justice arrested Ryan Harris, who ran a company called TCNISO. This company sold customizable cable modems and software, advertising that the two would enable the user to get free internet. Harris wound up being charged on computer intrusion charges and accounts of hacking. Meaning, if it seems too good to be true, then it likely is. Harris was charged with conspiracy and wire fraud as well.

Broadcom Chips

One of the biggest security breaches that happen inside of networks is Broadcom chips. These will help protect your cable modem from any kind of signal surge or disturbance that might not happen with your knowledge. They usually come directly from the coax cable.

There have been some corrupt chipsets in the past that have there, so you will want to watch with a keen eye to know that there are bad chipsets out there. It would be ideal if could double check the chipset that your modem comes with it before you proceed in any other way.

Can Just Any Modem Work?

While it might be a given that you need a cable modem to work with cable internet, but there is more to think about. What happens if you have your own modem? Well, some ISPs do not like you to have your own modem and might to be willing to supply you with the speeds and the security that you want. It is a bit of a hustle, since they would otherwise force you to rent a modem if you didn’t have one for yourself.

If you do opt to have your own modem, you will want to make sure that it is full of good security parameters that will help keep your internet as locked down and protected as possible. You get a lot more flexibility by owning your own modem, so this is not saying that you shouldn’t have one. It is much better to have one of your own, but your ISP might not be as helpful with the question of security when you have your own.

Wireless Security

Finally, we just want to make sure that you know that the modem security that we are discussing may or may not apply to a router as well. If you have a combo unit, you should be ok, but with single units, make sure that both devices are full of good security protocols to help keep all of the malware out and keep your devices up and running.

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