Routers are like a gateway between your home devices and the internet. Routers allow multiple connections of your devices and those that don’t support cables, can use Wi-Fi from your router. This means the router is a single point for all your internet communication and if it were to be compromised, then all your devices in your home network will be at risk. This makes routers a lucrative opportunity for malicious actors to exploit. Here are some various ways in which your router can be exploited;
- Wi-Fi hijacking
Depending on who is doing it, Wi-Fi hijacking can be devastating. For instance, your neighbor can hack into your Wi-Fi and enjoy free bandwidth at your expense. This might not be that impactful in terms of privacy if your neighbor is only interested in bandwidth. But your internet connection might slow down depending on what your neighbor is doing. You might also have a hard time with authorities if your neighbor is conducting illegal activities.
But if a malicious actor hijacks your Wi-Fi, then you are in serious trouble. Malicious actors can compromise other devices in the network and gain access to sensitive information and even control your router maliciously.
- DDoS attacks and direct router attacks
Malicious actors can directly attack your router and use it to perform other DDoS attacks or be part of a botnet. If it’s the latter, your devices will also join the botnet network and be used to perform other nefarious purposes such as crypto jacking. Crypto jacking will consume not only your bandwidth but also your devices’ processing power hence making them slow.
How cybercriminals compromise your router
Cybercriminals usually exploit vulnerabilities to propagate attacks through your router or hijack your router. Other times, they rely on your cyber unawareness or poorly implemented cybersecurity practices.
Vulnerabilities may give malicious actors complete authentication, or DNS hijacking and other exploits that gives them total control over your router. Poor cybersecurity practices give away your router details such as passwords to cybercriminals easily. They get this by attacking your router using various techniques. Sometimes they get your router login details online.
Ways to secure your router and other devices
Making your router safe ensures malicious actors and even your neighbor won’t get your personal details and use your bandwidth respectively. A secure router also ensures that your other devices are safe. Here are proven ways to secure your router;
- Place your router strategically (Wi-Fi signal)
To avoid malicious actors and your neighbor from hijacking your Wi-Fi, place your router in a strategic place. For instance, place your router centrally in your house, away from the windows and doors. This makes sure that your Wi-Fi network is evenly distributed throughout your house and the minimal signal reaches the neighbors. Nobody hacks into weak Wi-Fi signals. Also, periodically switch off your router and turn it back on after some periods. Restarting solves router problems including removing router malware.
- Update your router firmware
Updates usually come with security patches to fix flaws and discovered vulnerabilities. Update your router as soon as its update becomes available.
- Properly configure your router
Ensure your router settings are up to recommended levels. This includes implementing the right security configuration such as WPA2 encryptions, Setting the firewall if your router has one, and using unique, strong passwords (for router and Wi-Fi). Also, check if your router has other features such as a guest Wi-Fi network. Also ensure best practices such as logging out of your router admin page, check for updates and even set how many devices can connect to your network (usually the device you have).
Install a VPN – IPBurger VPN
Installing a router VPN will protect all your devices and ensure that your internet traffic will never be visible to prying eyes including your ISP and malicious actors. IPBurger router VPN uses strong encryption standards – AES 256 bit for best security and has worldwide servers. IPBurger also offers unlimited bandwidth with lightning speeds.