Most of us don’t give a second thought to the Wi-Fi that manages our home internet. However, one should know that hacking a Wi-Fi is easier than hacking a device connected to the Wi-Fi.
With the increasing number of devices and tools, the techniques of hacking are rapidly growing. Hackers are coming up with new ideas and methods to steal your data. One such preferred method is Wi-Fi hacking, in which the hacker hacks your Wi-Fi to get control of the connected devices.
Many times, cybercriminals or hackers may leave your Wi-Fi open to all to use. And when someone connects to their device using your Wi-Fi – their device address and IP address gets registered in the router. With the help of a sniffing tool, the hacker may intercept the traffic and transfer data in packets – eventually getting control over your online activity.
What are the risks of Wi-Fi hacking?
Hackers who target Wi-Fi may have multiple intentions like – attacking the network, infecting the devices, ransomware, identity theft, etc. The hackers often pick a weak link and target the vulnerability to drop malware into systems.
Once the Wi-Fi is hacked, the gadgets and IoT devices in that network can be easily tracked. Not only this, they can reveal complete information about the user and his/her online activities. In simple words, it can cause both privacy and security issues and put the Wi-Fi owner in deep trouble.
Ways to protect Wi-Fi from hackers
There are several ways to protect your Wi-Fi from hackers and cybercriminals. The hackers may take advantage of mistakes that users make while setting up the router or connecting a device to the network. Practice good cyber hygiene and take simple measures to protect IoT devices from being hacked along with the Wi-Fi.
Do not re-use passwords
A weak password is one of the biggest flaws of a Wi-Fi network. If the password to your Wi-Fi is among the most common passwords, it is easy for an attacker to break into the network. The hacker could penetrate your network in a matter of minutes. To prevent hackers from using your Wi-Fi, you should secure your network with a strong password. Never re-use the same password for all your accounts, as it increases the risk of a cyberattack.
Most of the routers have encryption by default. If you haven’t set it up yet, you can set it up by entering it into the admin panel. The most popular Wi-Fi security available today is WPA3. If you have plans to buy a new router, you should buy a router that supports WPA3. You can go to the admin menu to check encryption settings.
The router should have a built-in firewall. Today, almost all routers have a firewall. To check if the router has a built-in firewall or not, you can check “NAT Filtering” or “Port Blocking’ under “Advanced Settings’. These settings will let you tweak incoming and outgoing data ports. However, you should be extremely careful with these settings. Misconfiguring the firewall or port settings can make it easier for hackers to use your Wi-Fi.
Change router name
To enhance the security of your router, you should change the SSID. It is nothing but the name of your network that anyone from the outside world can see. A determined hacker will not be able to access the Wi-Fi if there are no SSID details. You can use a random name rather than the default manufacturer. You can even get creative about the Wi-Fi network name by making it complex and long.
Firmware is the software that governs the router. Like all other programs, firmware can be updated to protect the router from vulnerabilities. You should update the firmware regularly to prevent hackers from using your Wi-Fi. Most of the routers will have an automatic update. However, when you revert to a default setting – it often gets disabled. It is crucial to check the firmware settings whenever you update the router.
Many routers have WPS other than WPA3 and WPA2 that allows you to enter a PIN as opposed to a password. Although it is very convenient, the level of security is too low compared to passwords. It is easy to push the WPS button on the router to connect. It is advised to turn off the WPS and set a password to prevent someone from accessing your Wi-Fi.
One of the best ways to safeguard your Wi-Fi is to use a tool that keeps an eye on the wireless network. A comprehensive anti-virus program will save you from the hassle of manually monitoring the wireless network. Norton Antivirus features a built-in Wi-Fi inspector. It scans the network of vulnerabilities and suspicious activities – and keeps you informed of what’s happening on your wireless network at all times.
Encrypted VPN service
VPNs are the best roadblocks that prevent a hacker from using your wireless network. A personal VPN from a trusted company will anonymize your true location with a proxy IP address and puts strong encryption to protect your wireless network. A built-in VPN on the router encrypts all the traffic entering and leaving the network without the hassle of setting a third-party VPN.
The bottom line is – one can stop hackers from accessing their Wi-Fi with simple measures. Using a trusted anti-virus tool can help you detect any kinds of malware. If you want to check any kind of malware that a hacker might have implanted in your wireless network, you can scan your system thoroughly.
In case your Wi-Fi is hacked, you may want to contact your ISP and let them know that the router has been hacked. They will be able to support and provide a solution, depending on the ISP.