| By Fred Langa |
Disposing of outdated computing hardware often brings up the question of potential security risks.
In the case of old network gear, it’s easy to make sure that absolutely no trace of your network setup remains on old, donated gear.
Making old routers safe for new users
Reader Larry Stangby’s doing the right thing: instead of trashing old — but still-working — computing hardware, he’s passing it on to others who can get some use out of it.
But that raised a question:
- “I am donating some old electronics to Goodwill. Is it necessary to erase data from a wireless router? If so, how?”
Interesting question, Larry! That’s a potential security issue I bet most people never consider.
The biggest risk might be in leaving your wireless-network passphrase or key on the router. There’s not much a hacker can do with a passphrase or key by itself; he has to know where the network is located and must have close, physical access to it. So that’s not a top-tier worry. That said, it’s trivial to completely eliminate any potential risk. Here’s how: