Since we are in the modern technological era, the internet has become an indispensable tool in our modern-day life. As we speak, we need it to communicate, work online, learn online and even do business online. When it comes to internet connectivity, there are many ways to get internet in your home. One of the best ways to access the internet at home or the workplace is by investing in a router. With this device in place, you will be able to create a home network that can be used by wireless devices such as smart TVs, home appliances, IP cameras, and so much more.
Although a router may offer a reliable home network with an ethernet cable, it can be hacked and thereby affect your overall Wi-Fi network. The good news is that there are many ways to keep such incidences at bay. In this article, we shall take a closer look at how you can protect your router from hackers and other related ideas:
Simply put, router hacking refers to the process in which cybercriminals take control of your router without your express consent. Just like other kinds of hacking, the cybercriminal will have an upper hand as he or she will have overcome your security measures.
In most cases, the common security measure that most people prefer to use is to set a password for their routers. However, cybercriminals can crack that password and be able to access your home’s network.
If you have not set a strong password, a hacker will have an easy time accessing your Wi-Fi network. Once they have access to your router, they can access your internet data, change the router settings, and even install malware on your router. Therefore, there is a need to protect your router so as to avoid such incidences.
Gone and never-to-come-again are those days when hacking used to be a computer issue. Nowadays, even routers are prone to such incidences. With the advancement in technology, hacking has become very prominent in many places all over the world. Here are the reasons why someone may want to hack your router.
1. Someone wants to eavesdrop on you
Since routers are fond of handling all the internet traffic on your network, a hacker will be able to see what you are doing. From the apps you are controlling remotely to the websites that you are visiting, there are a plethora of things a hacker will know from the other end.
Also, he will know what is happening to any of the devices that have been connected to the Wi-Fi network.
2. The hacker wants to monitor your HTTP connections
Some websites do not have HTTP encryption, and as a result, such websites are open to anyone. If you visit such sites, be sure that the hacker will be able to see what you are doing on such sites.
This includes all the personal data you receive and send.
3. The hacker wants to interfere with the HTTP connections
Besides monitoring your HTTP connections, the hacker may want to inject malicious code into the HTTP connection. After all, unsecured HTTP connections are prone to such incidences. Once you access such sites, your devices may be infected with malware that may make them less functional.
For instance, you may have to format your phone or tablet so that it can start working optimally.
4. Install malware into your router
Once the hacker accesses your router, he or she can now install malware on it and thus expose you to danger. If you connect your devices to the same router, chances are that the data present on your devices will be corrupted.
5. Redirect your internet traffic
Typically, the DNS settings of your router usually direct the internet traffic to the right places. However, once the hacker accesses your router, he is capable of changing the DNS settings. Consequently, he will be able to redirect your traffic to the places they please.
In most cases, your traffic may be directed to malicious websites where you may be scammed and so forth.
6. Use your internet data
Since your router is the source of internet connection, the hacker inside your network may want to use your data free of charge. After all, most routers allow users to enjoy large volumes of data in one day.
The hacker may also use your Wi-Fi to share or even access illegal content under your name.
Since we have established some of the reasons why someone may want to hack your router, time is ripe for you to know some of the tell-tale signs that your router has been hacked. These include:
1. Your admin password is not working
One way to secure your router is by setting a password for it. However, if a hacker has accessed it, the admin password might no longer be helpful. This is because the hacker may have changed the password and set a new one.
In this case, you may have to factory reset your router and set a new password.
2. Slow internet
Besides having issues with your admin password, the internet speeds might slow down drastically. After all, the hacker might be using your data secretly. Assuming the hacker has many devices, your internet’s bandwidth may be ripped through, thereby slowing down internet speeds.
3. Altered DNS settings
Earlier on, we indicated that hackers usually change the DNS stings so that they can direct your traffic to where they want. If you notice that your DNS settings have been changed, chances are that your router was hacked.
4. Presence of unrecognized devices on your network
Sometimes, you may spot unfamiliar devices on your Wi-Fi network. If you had not authorized someone to connect his or her device to your network, chances are that someone has hacked your router.
Therefore, you should always keep an eye on the number of devices that are connected to your Wi-Fi network.
5. Presence of strange software or malware on any of your devices
Like we previously mentioned, hackers are capable of downloading malware onto your phone, tablet or laptop. This is because your traffic may be directed to unsecure sites that may compromise the safety of your device’s data.
As a result, your device might get malware or strange software that is difficult to remove.
Although your router may have been hacked in the past, the good news is that you can now protect it and thus prevent potential damage of your wireless device and other vital components:
1. Ensure that you create a new admin username and password
Once you purchase your router, the first thing to do is to set a new admin username and password. Since hackers are conversant with default passwords, you should consider setting a more complicated password. Ideally, it should be difficult for the hacker to guess it.
If possible, limit the number of people who know the current username and passwords of your router.
2. Keep an eye on your Wi-Fi network with a cybersecurity tool
Besides setting a unique username and password for your router, you should monitor your Wi-Fi network all the time. The good news is that there are some cybersecurity tools that can help you get started.
For instance, cybersecurity tools such as AVG AntiVirus Free is a classic example of vital tools that can scan your network for an unrecognized device. Besides this, it can help you know the various vulnerabilities within your network and whether your DNS has been hijacked or not.
3. Ditch WPS
Earlier on, most people used the WPA2 to secure their routers. After that, WPA3 came and was equally effective. When it comes to WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup, it gets compromised every now and then. However, most people like it as you just need to press a button or enter a PIN in order to access the internet.
Unfortunately, a hacker will have an easy time cracking that pin or password and then hack your router. Worse still, if you have a WPS button, anyone near the router can readily connect to it within seconds. To avert cybercrime attacks, you should turn off WPS and instead protect the router using a WPA2 or WPA3 password instead.
4. Update your router’s firmware
Your router, just like any other device, comes with software that governs its operations. This software is commonly known as firmware. Like any other program or operating system, it needs to be updated every now and then.
By updating your router’s firmware, be sure that you will be able to protect it from any potential vulnerabilities that might put it at risk. Routers are different, and some usually update their firmware automatically.
However, if yours does not update its firmware automatically, you can always log in to your router’s admin setting and check for firmware updates manually. For optimal results, you should always ensure that your router’s firmware is updated after every 3 months.
5. Deactivate remote or wireless administration
Remote administration offers much-needed convenience to router owners, as it allows them to log into their router’s admin setting remotely. However, this exercise is only ideal if at all you are a developer. Otherwise, there is no need to do this, as this can expose your router to more vulnerabilities.
Instead, you should deactivate this feature and only access your router’s admin settings only when your computer is connected to the router with an Ethernet cable. This strategy works magic as hackers will not access your router.
6. Set up a router firewall
Simply put, a firewall serves as an internet blockade that allows only authorized devices to access your network. This goes a long way in keeping unwanted traffic at bay. If you set up a router firewall, only connections that have been requested by your devices will be allowed to pass through the router. Since most routers come with a built-in firewall, you just need to enable it and be good to go.
Routers are some of the vulnerable components that hackers take advantage of whenever they want to access your home’s network. However, if you consider the ideas we have mentioned above, you will optimize its security. This will not only secure your router but also help you save more on data as only authorized devices will be accessing the home’s internet. Consider these ideas today, and router hacking will be a thing of the past.