Did you know that a Wi-Fi is easier to hack than a device that’s connected to it? That’s probably why you are under attack (if that’s why you are here). Unfortunately, so many free tools are available now that anyone with digital skills can hack an unsecured router.
Routers with WEP security are extremely vulnerable. When I was about to get my rental equipment at the time of subscribing to one of the Spectrum packages, they recommended a WPA encrypted router because it’s tough to hack. Check your router right away and upgrade if you must.
What Damage Can Hackers Do?
In April 2018, US-CERT announced that Russian hackers had attacked Internet devices throughout the United States which also included network routers used in homes. None of us is safe!
There is a wide range of damages a hacker can do once they hijack your router. Here’s how hackers take advantage of the network vulnerability. When you browse something, your PC sends a request to the domain name server that plays the role of a traffic director. It sends a request to the router which passes the request to another domain name server typically located outside your home. That request is not encrypted.
Hackers take advantage of this and intercept your PC to track the sites you are visiting. They can also redirect you to a fake website and steal information such as financial data, chats, browsing history, online photos, and videos. They can also launch DDOs attack.
Signs Your Router’s Been Hacked
It is very clear what function a router performs. It manages the connection between the Internet-connected devices and your wireless network at home. Once it’s hacked, the criminal can carry out several crimes and malicious activities.
Not sure if your Wi-Fi router is hacked? Look out for these symptoms to see if it’s compromised:
- The router login is not working anymore
- You see foreign IP addresses listed on your network
- Unknown software installation without your permission
- You are suddenly receiving unfamiliar antivirus messages or maybe even ransomware.
- Slow Internet speed
What To Do If You’re Hacked?
Once a router is hacked, you must take immediate action for securing your network and sensitive data before it’s too take. Here’s are steps that can help you fix the problem and protect your information:
Reboot Your Router
By rebooting your router, you can remove any active malware on your network. In 2018, the VPNFilter malware infected a number of routers. FBI recommended rebooting the router to have it removed.
To reboot, hold on the reset button on the device until it shuts down. Then, turn it on. You will have to reconfigure the network’s settings to start using it again.
Update the Firmware
The software installed on our PCs update automatically, right? That’s not how the firmware in routers work. You will have to manually upgrade. After every 90 days or whenever the updates are available, make sure you upgrade the firmware.
Deactivate the Remote Administration
Each router has remote administration settings. It gives you the ability to access your PC and Internet from different locations. This feature is very convenient but at the same time, it’s an opportunity for hackers to gain access to your network.
If you see the mouse on your desktop moving or a program installing on its own, chances are someone is manipulating your system. The best hack is to turn off remote administration.
Turn on Guest Network
A guest network is created for visitors. If you have been visited by guests and they wish to connect to your Wi-Fi, the guest network keeps your devices on the network separate from that of your guests. This is a great feature to protect your smart home devices as well.
Tips To Prevent Future Attacks
How can you be sure your router is protected or hackers don’t attack again? There are ways to enhance the security of your network and router. This is what you can do:
Turn on the Firewall
If your router’s firewall is not enabled yet, turn it on. This makes your network less visible to hackers who are looking for weak networks. Some firewalls also support stealth mode to reduce the visibility of your network. After installing and turning on the firewall, make sure you test it to see if it’s configured correctly.
Enable WPA2 Wireless Encryption
If your router comes with WPA2 encryption, use it to your advantage. Check the manual of the manufacturer to learn how to enable encryption.
Along with that, replace the default SSID with a strong one. Similarly, the network’s password should be strong.
Disable the Admin via Wireless Feature
Go to the settings of your network and disable the admin via the wireless feature. This prevents unauthorized access to the administrative functions of the router in case the Wi-Fi encryption is compromised.
After my Internet service was activated, Spectrum recommended using a firewall for protecting the Wi-Fi. Since I pay Charter bill online and use my banking information, it was essential. Don’t be careless with your wireless network. Hackers are getting smarter. We should start implementing protective measures to protect our security online.