Hacker Next Door? How to Tell If Someone is Stealing Your WiFi
The 2020s have already exposed our world to many new dangerous cyber security threats. The expanded remote-access workforce spawned by the pandemic has exacerbated the access and impact of cyberattacks. The IT world has responded with more powerful protection options such as password managers and vpns. But cyber security is a multi-layered operation, and hackers continue to find ways around new protection tools. Therefore, it is essential to have many layers of protection to preserve the sanctity of your data.
A few possible signs that your WiFi network password has been hacked:
- You are suddenly redirected to unknown or unintended websites.
- Suddenly, your login credentials don’t work.
- You show unknown IP addresses appearing on your IP address list.
- You receive ransomware messages (a worst-case scenario)
Secure WiFi is Basic to Strong Cyber Security
The most common access point from which cybercriminals can grab your WiFi password is your router. Nowadays, most routers come with strong default WiFi passwords. However, if you suspect your WiFi password has been stolen, change your router’s password. Successful hacking of your WiFi network affords hackers the flexibility to attack the network itself and any connected devices. Their goal is to find the weakest links and target those vulnerabilities. In addition, they count on users making mistakes upon which they can capitalize. The good news is that you have physical control of your router and can take the necessary action. The most common causes of hacker-compromised WiFi connections are:
- Weak Passwords – Due to routers having strong default passwords, it is less of an issue than it once was. However, changing a password is the first thing you should do when you believe your network has been hacked. The days of using your birthday or your pet’s name for a password are long gone.
- Sharing a Password – If a guest asks for your password to log on to your network, don’t do it unless you are confident you can trust him or her. A better idea is to create a “Guest” network to run alongside your network. You can give your guests the login credentials for “Guest” and not divulge the network’s primary password. You should think twice before allowing your neighbor to share your network.
- Insecurely Stored Passwords – Saving your WiFi password in an insecure place on your phone or computer is a widespread mistake. Handwritten passwords stored near the router open another door for someone to steal them.
- Sniffing – Sniffing is a very common technique cybercriminals use for stealing WiFi passwords. It allows hackers to intercept data packets being transmitted and received between your devices and the router. Once the packet is hijacked, the cyber thief then uses decryption programs to decipher it.
Here are some tips to help secure your WiFi connection:
- Delete Unnecessary Preferred Networks – In your WiFi settings, you will find your list of “Preferred Networks” or “Known Networks.” These are networks that your device will log into automatically. It is a good idea to purge your devices of any networks you don’t use regularly.
- In addition to deleting unnecessary Preferred Networks, you may select “Disable Auto-connect,” which will save the network passwords for the networks you use often but not log into them automatically.
- Do Not Use Hidden Networks – Hidden networks do not show up on your list of available networks and can be accessed only by knowing and typing in the exact name of the network. Although hidden networks might be invisible to fellow users, hackers find it easier to identify and attack hidden networks. This is because regular networks transmit beacons, searching for devices with which to connect. To a cybercriminal, a network not transmitting beacons is more easily identifiable, and devices configured to connect to a hidden network will automatically be searching for that network, thereby making the devices more vulnerable entry points for hackers.
- Disable the WPS Function on Your Router – Enabled WPS is a hacker’s dream. Experienced hackers can identify and breach WiFi networks with WPS functionality in as little as 15 seconds.
Once a network is attacked, cybercriminals can steal a business’ most sensitive data. For a small to midsized business, a network breach can be devastating. A high compliance company, such as a law firm or medical practice, where protecting a client’s private information is regulated by law, could be put out of business by a cyberattack. Ironically, once a network router is up and running, business owners often forget about it. Small to midsized businesses do not have the time, expertise or budget for a full-time IT department. However, insufficient cyber security is not an option. Therefore, it is essential to enlist the expertise of IT professionals who can identify vulnerabilities in your system and make strategic recommendations to upgrade your company’s level of cyber protection.
DIGIGUARD Cyber Security Knows How to Protect Your Network
DIGIGUARD, specializing in preventing cyber threats, has a wide array of solutions to protect your small to midsized business from cybercrimes. It works with companies to establish cyber security best practices to ensure their confidential data has the best protection possible, and they are prepared for any cybercrime events that might arise. In addition, DIGIGUARD will assess your cyber risks and work with you to ensure you have the best protection solution for your business.
Call DIGIGUARD CYBER SECURITY at 833-33-CYBER (833-332-9237) and visit www.DIGIGUARDsecurity.com to discuss how you can increase your level of cyber security and lock down your WiFi network against cyberattacks.