#FAIL: New Netgear Router Firmware Collects Analytic Data BY DEFAULT

I am not sure what Netgear was thinking when they came up with this idea, but if you own a NightHawk R7000 router from the company and you have updated the firmware to said router in the last little while, it’s now collecting the following info by default and sending it back to Netgear:

  • Total number of devices connected to the router
  • IP address
  • MAC addresses
  • Serial number
  • Router’s running status
  • Types of connections
  • LAN/WAN status
  • Wi-Fi bands and channels
  • Technical details about the use and functioning of the router and the WiFi network

Netgear had this on its website as to why it is doing this:

Technical data about the functioning and use of our routers and their WiFi network can help us to more quickly isolate and debug general technical issues, improve router features and functionality, and improve the performance and usability of our routers

Here’s the problem with that. If you want to collect data, allow one to opt into this. Forcing one to opt out should never be how this sort of thing should work as it just leaves a very bad taste in ones mouth as a result. Now if you don’t want Netgear collecting info on you, here’s how you disable this “feature”:

  • Launch a web browser from your PC or smartphone that is connected to the network.
  • Open the router login window by entering http://www.routerlogin.net.
  • Type the router username and password. If you haven’t changed the default settings, your username is admin, and password is password.
  • Select Advanced → Administration → Router Update on the Home page.
  • Scroll down to the Router Analytics Data Collection section and select the Disable button to disable router analytics data collections.
  • Click the Apply button to save your settings.

Now this “feature” is likely to come to other Netgear routers. So if you own one, you should be on the lookout for this “feature” and take action if required to protect your privacy.

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