How To Tell If Your Home Wi-fi Network Is Hacked?
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, last year was a colossal shutdown for all the physical workers, students, office workforce, and essentially, everyone. Thanks to the technological advancement in networking and internet technology, many were able to sit in their bedrooms in pajamas and do jobs that required physical work without having to stand up from their seats.
According to a survey, more than 77% of workers reported that they still want to continue working remotely, at minimum once a week, even when the lockdown ends. The same report also stated those workforces who work from home could be 20-25% more productive than those who work physically in offices.
All these statistics only show that home Wi-Fi networks are becoming more common, convenient, and beneficial every day. However, there are also few downsides to using the home networks for daily activities. The major challenge, of course, is the risk of network security.
All kinds of communication, including the exchange of sensitive information such as passwords, personal videos/photos, financial details, etc., take place within the Wi-Fi network. This level of data sharing is constantly targeted by cybercriminals. Finding a hole in your network’s security can lead them to hack your devices and valuable information stored in them, which points out the importance of recognizing if your Wi-Fi is safe or not. Let’s learn more about that below.
Can your home Wi-Fi be hacked?
A simple answer to this question? Yes, it’s totally possible that your home Wi-Fi can be hacked. There are various ways a hacker can spot vulnerabilities in your network system and make your life miserable.
The most common method used by hackers is by guessing your Wi-Fi password. While it may sound simple, the manufacturer of routers often uses the same pre-set default password for all devices. By recognizing the type of router, a hacker can quickly generate the associated default password and use it to get inside as many devices as possible.
Another way cyber-criminal might attempt to hack your network is by decrypting your Wi-Fi. With the use of proper software and online tools, hackers can easily crack weakly encrypted Wi-Fi networks. Although time-consuming, they wouldn’t mind using brute force to crack your router’s decryption key.
And the risks if your Wi-Fi is hacked? Many. Below are some of them listed for you:
- Bandwidth hog
- Spying of your internet activities
- Collection of your personal data
- Illicit content access under your name
- DNS settings changes
- Infection of malware on your devices
These risks can seem immensely bothering, but you might be able to prevent yourself from encountering them if you can identify the signs and know how to protect your home Wi-Fi.
How to know if someone has hacked your home network?
If your Wi-Fi has been hacked, there will be some obvious signs. But it all depends on if you can recognize them or not. Following are some of the symptoms you may notice in case your network router is compromised:
1. Your Wi-Fi slows down
The primary sign that someone is hijacking your Wi-Fi is a slowed-down internet. When there are increased users on the same network, you’ll notice difficulties in streaming videos, online surfing, and generally all online activities. This also happens when hackers have decrypted your router and are using it for malicious purposes.
2. You’re getting ransomware notifications
Hackers use ransomware, malicious software, to extract the personal information from your devices and hold them to blackmail you for a ransom in return. If someone has accessed your Wi-Fi, they can easily steal your data and send you emails and messages asking for a sum of money. In case you are receiving similar notifications, be alerted.
3. You can’t log into your Wi-Fi
As mentioned earlier, hackers often immediately compromise your Wi-Fi password once gaining access to it. If your current password is not working, or you aren’t able to log into the admin interface of your router, this could be a clear indication of a Wi-Fi hack.
4. You see unrecognized IP addresses on your network traffic
By going into the router’s interface, you can look for a list of IP addresses using your network. In case you notice a foreign address on the list, it’s highly likely that a cybercriminal has gained access to your Wi-Fi router.
5. You notice unknown applications installed on your devices
Usually, when hackers enter your devices using your Wi-Fi network, they try to install malicious software and applications on them and infect as many files as they can. You should frequently check your devices for such unknown apps as they might have been installed by hackers.
6. Your Bank Account is compromised
Suddenly, you receive emails from your bank notifying you that your money is transferred to different accounts when you have not performed any transaction. This could indicate that hackers who have hijacked your network are stealing your financial details and exploiting them.
7. Your devices are bombarded with ads
Adware is a type of malware that targets excessive ads to users, which could lead to infecting the devices if clicked on them. Hackers often install adware on their victims once accessing their home Wi-Fi. If you notice similar adware effects, be wary of who’s using your Wi-Fi.
8. You are redirected to unsecure sites
DNS hijacking is a common method among hackers, which deals with redirecting victims to malicious websites where their private data are at risk. If you are visiting regular sites and still getting redirected to unknown pages with insecure warnings, there’s a chance your network has been hacked.
How to prevent your Wi-Fi from being hacked?
If you are worried that someone might hijack your home network, you can take some precautious measures to help shield your Wi-Fi. Below are some of the ways you can do that:
- Use a robust VPN to keep your Wi-Fi network encrypted.
- Upgrade to a higher encrypted network (such as WPA2).
- Disable your network broadcasting.
- Keep a unique and strong Wi-Fi password with random letters, symbols, and numbers.
- Upgrade your router frequently.
- Secure IoT Devices at Home with antivirus software, like Norton 360, along with other equipment such as phones and computers.