More than 64% of homes have a Wi-Fi router in the household, but only 16% do anything to protect them, according to data from NordVPN.
This is problematic as hackers are more frequently targeting home routers in phishing attacks including one such attack earlier this year to change DNS settings to redirect victims to malware-serving websites.
Hackers targeted routers that had no protection and re-directed users to fake web pages where they would download information about COVID-19. It then would act as an info stealer and upload the stolen data to hackers’ servers.
“This attack affected almost 1,200 users who didn’t protect their home internet enough,” said Daniel Markuson, a cybersecurity expert from NordVPN. “According to our research, many users do nothing to protect their smart devices, so the situation might repeat itself in the future if users’ habits don’t change.”
NordVPN identified four dangers to Wi-Fi router hacking including:
- Unwanted users — putting privacy in danger, reduction of connection speed or potentially doing something illegal.
- Spying on internet traffic — hackers could spy on anything from online shopping to bank credentials.
- Controlling internet activity — secretly controlling traffic and redirecting users to malicious sites.
- Hijacking DNS — changing the router settings to redirect users to websites to trick them into giving away personal information or download malware.
“When it comes to hacking computers or phones, the dangers seem to be clear to most of the users,” Marksun said. “However, Wi-Fi routers don’t store any information, so users pay little attention to protecting them. And that is why they become targets for hackers more and more often.”
How to protect your router?
Change the default password for starters. Also turn off SSID broadcasts so the Wi-Fi won’t appear on a list when someone tries to connect. Lastly, install a VPN on the router to encrypt the traffic on every device connected to a home Wi-Fi.
In the video, NordVPN offers up additional ways to protect against hackers taking control of a Wi-Fi router.