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The government has urged broadband customers to update the password on their home router to make it more secure.

According to official estimates, every household in the UK owns at least ten internet-connected devices, and this figure could increase to 15 devices by 2020.

As a result, more than 420 million could be in use across the country within the next three years, with many of these forming Internet of Things-based networks.

Ministers are concerned that poorly secured devices put individuals' online safety and privacy at risk, leaving them vulnerable to cyber attacks.

The government has therefore urged households to take a number of precautionary steps to safeguard connected devices in their home.

Among its recommendations is to change any default passwords and usernames, particularly on home routers.

Consumers have also been encouraged to research the security of a product before buying, check all the available security settings and find out on the manufacturers’ website if there are any updates available.

Ministers are also putting pressure on manufacturers to ensure "smart" devices include tough new security measures that last the lifetime of the product.

The government's efforts have been backed by BT Security, which said it shares ministers' ambition to make the UK "the safest place to work and do business online".

Mark Hughes, Chief Executive of BT Security, commented: "From the development of the world’s first Cleanfeed filter to block child abuse images, free parental controls for broadband products and devices, to warning or blocking our customers from known malware and phishing sites, BT has been at the forefront of keeping consumers and families safe online for many years."

Mr Hughes added that BT will continue providing guidance to the government and industry around best practice for securing internet-connected devices.

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