If your home internet or WiFi network has been slower than usual lately, this might be because it has been compromised. The hacker might be using your network to do various things including illegal downloads of entertainment files like music playlists and videos, and even stealing your personal information.
So how can you check if someone else is using your network for malicious activities?
You should start with checking the devices associated with your router. This way you can see how many devices are registered on your network and if any of them do not look familiar. Here’s what to do: log in to your router by typing its IP address directly into the browser address bar. In most setups, either http://192.168.0.1 or http://192.168.1.1 should work, or it may be written on the router itself, along with the username and password you need to log in with.
Once logged in, look around a section called Attached Devices or Device List, where you’ll find a list of all the IP addresses currently being used on your network. Unfortunately, not all devices will have a name that make them easily recognizable (like Peter’s iPhone or Jack’s laptop), which means that you’d need to figure out the IP address for each device.
In order to prevent a hack on your system, you should check whether your router is still using WEP (type of authentication protocol) as a security method. If it is, that means that your router is very old and it’s vulnerable to cyber attacks. If you’ve purchased your router in the past 5 years, then it should support more secure authentication protocol like WPA or WPA2. You can check this by logging in to your router from your laptop where you can find the Wireless Settings and choose your preferred authentication protocol. Also, make sure you change the WPA2 password to a long phrase that is a combination of numbers, letters and symbols like #%*<$?!=+.
Here are a few other simple steps to follow to make sure that your network doesn’t get hijacked:
- Change the default admin password on your router
- Hide your SSID – SSID is your network name (like Peter’s WiFi) and you can hide it so that it’s not visible to others
- IP Filtering – This blocks your IP address; however, bear in mind that hackers know how to easily change an IP address
- MAC Filtering – This is a very secure method if you’re a MAC user because it blocks the device via the unique hardware address that is given out during the manufacturing process.
These are the steps to follow to make sure that your home Internet network isn’t used by hackers. Should you have any questions on the topic, leave a comment below or tweet us @JustAskGemalto and we’d be happy to answer them all!