What to Do if Your Router Has Been Compromised

by Jake Redfield

    If you ever experience slow Internet speeds or get locked out of your router, you may be subject to a hacker intrusion. While some hackers will change your router's security settings, others will simply access your Internet and use up your precious bandwidth, which can significantly slow down your connection.

    Having an unsecured network is like leaving your front door wide open: you're virtually inviting hackers to connect to your Internet. Use Wi-Fi Protected Access -- WPA -- to protect your connection. Create an SSID network name and a strong password. Make your network name something long-winded and random so people won't know it's your router and then accompany it with a strong password that contains multiple types of characters such as numerals, symbols uppercase and lowercase letters. The more random your network name and password, the harder it'll be for hackers to break through.

    Your router firewall is designed to keep out intruders. If you haven't already done so, enable your firewall. Many routers will have a stealth mode that will limit its visibility, reducing its chance of being targeted by hackers. If you don't mind spending money on router security, invest in a VPN service to hide your router's location with a proxied IP. A VPN is a strong form of encryption that's difficult for even experienced hackers to get past.

    If you keep your computer in a fixed location, disable your wireless Internet and use an Ethernet cable instead to stop your router from emitting a wireless Internet signal that can be hacked. You can then use an Ethernet cable to plug your router directly into your computer and thus not only prevent hackers from intruding and taking up bandwidth, but also actually speed up your connection. Ethernet cables are also more stable than wireless and don't suffer as much during high-traffic periods.

    When you aren't using your Internet, turn it off by unplugging it from its power supply. Although this will completely disable your Internet connection, it will prevent hackers from logging into your router when you aren't using it and changing your security settings. While this isn't a particularly convenient approach, it 's the only way to completely protect yourself to external hackers when you are offline. It also means that hackers will have limited exposure to your connection as they will only have the opportunity to break through your encryption when you are connected.

    About the Author

    Based in London, Jake Redfield has been working as a video games designer since 2009. In addition, he has written articles for many computer based online and offline publications. Redfield holds a degree in computer game design from Newport University.

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