What the Tech? Is Someone Hacking Your Router to Spy on You?

This isn’t just another scary Halloween story but it is frightening: someone may be watching you using your security camera or doorbell.

The headline isn’t click-bait. It happens. With all of the gadgets and devices plugged into your home WiFi router, practically anything is hackable. This includes any device with a camera such as a computer web camera, nanny-cam, crib cam, security camera, and video doorbell.

It isn’t easy but hackers with knowledge and intent can certainly compromise those devices. You may be making it easier for them without even knowing it. The WiFi router, to which all smart home devices are connected, is vulnerable to hacks if the default password and user name information has never been changed.

All WiFi routers are shipped with default login information that you are asked to change once it is plugged in and connected to the internet. The trouble is, many people are too busy or forgetful to do that. Manufacturers of WiFi routers post the default logins on their website support page so people can quickly get their router up and running.

Armed with a router’s username and password (often “admin” and “password”) and directions that can be found posted on dark websites, a hacker can take control of the router and any device connected to it.

There are websites on the dark web that host dozens of hacked security cameras streaming video 24 hours a day. People in their homes totally unsuspecting they’re being watched. On YouTube, you can find videos of pranks carried out using those security cameras. Some hackers control smart TVs, garage doors, and things that go ‘beep’.

If you have smart home devices, think of what a hacker can do with them.

Think back to when you set up your WiFi router. Did you change the default user name and password? You might be asking “how do I do it now?”. The easiest way is to download the WiFi router’s app or go to the manufacturer’s website support page. Log in and make any changes necessary.

Newer routers have better security. If your router is 5 years old or older, it may be time to get a new one. WiFi 6 routers offer more speed to more devices.

It’s also a good idea, no matter how old your router is, to reset it again. To do that, simply unplug the router from electricity for about 10 seconds before plugging it back in. When it resumes, it will download and install any updates released by the manufacturer.

 

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