When it comes to online security, many people only focus on the devices they use to surf the internet. Unfortunately, WLAN routers are often ignored. These can also be affected by hacking attacks. Nobody is 100% safe from such attacks, but there are a few ways you can increase your security.
What can happen if the router is hacked?
Most people know personal data is at risk when hackers access PCs, smartphones, or tablets. They can steal important information and get rich with it, launch ransomware attacks or install malware.
But what can actually happen if a router is hacked?
You are surfing at a reduced speed
This is a harmless but very annoying consequence of a hacked Wi-Fi router. Hackers can use your internet connection to stream content, play games, or even mine cryptocurrencies. This will become noticeable over time, as you only have limited bandwidth available.
Hackers have access to everything you do online
Once cybercriminals gain access to your Wi-Fi router, they have access to all traffic on that network. As a rule, it will not be only the desktop PC, but also smartphones, tablets, etc., that are connected to it. There may also be various smart home devices and/or game consoles.
Illegal content can be accessed from your network access
It may be that you yourself have never accessed prohibited content on the internet and are therefore not aware of any crime. Hackers who are up to mischief in your network do not have to be as law-abiding as that. This allows them to roam the dark web on your behalf and view or download illegal content. In the worst case scenario, you may be charged for it.
You become a victim of malware
It is not enough for some hackers to steal all sorts of personal information; they also infect the router with malware. They often want to ensure that future attacks are also thriving.
Your router can be misused for further attacks
If attackers have managed to take control of your wireless router, there is a good chance they will use it to launch DDOS attacks on other people.
No matter how cybercriminals manipulate your router, their aim is to enrich themselves at your expense. To make life difficult for them, you can take a few important protective measures.
Protection measures for your wireless router
Nobody is really immune to hacker attacks. But there are a few security measures that you can implement without much effort. And they definitely require less time and money than dealing with the aftermath of a cyberattack.
Protect your WiFi network with security tools
There are now some tools that can make the internet a lot safer. This includes, for example, the use of a VPN Canada. A VPN is a virtual private network that can be installed on both the devices and on the router. The advantage is that all devices connected to this network are protected. The IP addresses are concealed, and all data and online activities are encrypted and protected against unauthorized access.
There is also Wi-Fi monitoring software that monitors the network for unusual or suspicious activity. If anomalies are detected, you will immediately receive a warning.
Change the router password
Each router comes to your home from the factory with a username and password. You should change both immediately. Depending on the router model, these login data are often the same by default. Of course, hackers know all about the data of the common routers. This allows people who are within your Wi-Fi range to dial into your network easily.
So if you don't change the default access data, you make your router an easy target for attackers. Also, remember to change the router network name.
Use WPA encryption
WPA is the security protocol “WiFi-Protected Access.” There are currently WPA2 and WPA3. Both use AES encryption to protect the router from unauthorized access. Every good router is now WPA2. Current models, in particular, already work with WPA3.
WPA encryption should always be enabled because then anyone who wants to connect to your router will have to enter the password. Of course, it is also important that you choose a strong one.
Keep your router's firmware up to date
It's not just your internet-enabled devices that need regular updates, but your router too. Outdated software can also lead to weaknesses here, which hackers can then exploit as a gateway.
Depending on the router and its settings, the devices can either search for updates themselves, or you have to remind yourself regularly about this in the settings.