Your router is a prime target for hackers who want to offload your WiFi connection or break into your network for free. If compromised, they can redirect your personal or business Internet requests to servers infected with malware.
However, most people are not aware of the magnitude of the problems associated with a compromised router. Manufacturers also mass-produce various devices and do not care about updating them, which makes them vulnerable to attacks. In fact, cybercriminals use this to attack many routers.
The most recent example of router malware attacks is the VPNFilter.html” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>VPNFilter threat Following a massive malware attack that compromised thousands of Wi-Fi routers and network devices around the world, the FBI sent home and small office owners an urgent request to reboot their routers to prevent a massive malware attack.
Among the threats posed by malware are the disabling of routers, blocking network traffic, and collecting information passing through routers. You can lose your sensitive information and data, which can create huge problems for you or your business.
Obviously no one wants to be in this situation, which is why we’ve put together this guide on how to check your router for malware and what you can do to make it harder to hack
Symptoms of a malware infection on the router
Signs that your router is infected with malware
If you suspect something is wrong with your router, there are a few general telltale signs that could indicate a potential compromise or malware. Some red flags to check include:
- The computer is running slower than usual.
- Internet searches have been redirected to strange sites.
- Messages requesting ransom demanding a sum of money in exchange for unlocking your data.
- Online account passwords are not working.
- Your online bank account is short of some funds.
- Computer programs crash at random.
- New toolbar names that you don’t recognize are displayed in your web browser.
- Several pop-ups appear on your screen with fake antivirus messages.
- New software is unexpectedly installed on your computer.
One of the main signs that your router has been compromised is its DNS server Attackers “hijack” your router’s DNS, trying to change them without your consent. The idea is to control, track and redirect your internet traffic to a phishing site.
For example, if you connect to your online banking account through a device connected to your router, you will be redirected to a fake version of the bank’s website. If you are careful enough, you may even notice that these malicious sites do not have HTTPS encryption. From a phishing site, an attacker can access your banking session and collect money without your knowledge.
Here’s what to look out for if your router’s DNS has been hijacked:
- unwanted ads like porn ads and others appear on your screen while you are browsing the regular pages you visit. These ads can also be modified to trick you.
- You receive warnings or notifications indicating potential problems with your computer.
- Your browser is redirecting from popular web pages such as online banking and social media sites. media to fake versions of sites. These phishing sites collect your personal information, login credentials, sometimes even your bank and credit card details.
If you’re still unsure if your router has malware or has been compromised, you can use the F-Secure Router checker It is a simple online tool that quickly checks the health of your router for potential threats and malware vulnerabilities. While not the most thorough tool, it is a good place to start if you want to check if your router is infected.
What to do if your router is infected with malware
What to do if your router is infected with malware
If you find that your router contains malware, here are some simple steps you can take to minimize the damage.
Backing up data and files
Before trying to fix your PC or remove malware, back up your data and files to cloud storage or an external hard drive.
Restart your computer in safe mode
If you receive a false anti-virus message and suspect that there is malware on your router, shut down your computer and restart it in Safe Mode to remove any suspicious software.
When you’re done, restart normally and check if the messages are gone, then scan your computer again to identify any remaining malware threats.
Protect your router and install a reliable antivirus
This is your first line of defense as it protects your devices online. Create a strong SSID (network name) and password and turn on the firewall of the router.
You can also get a VPN (virtual private network) for your home or business if you want to be extra careful.
Change your passwords
If there are accounts that have been compromised by a router attack, immediately request a password reset and create a more secure one. You can also use two-factor authentication for added security.
Take a good look at all links in your emails before clicking on them. If you are using the same password for multiple accounts, change those as well. If you can’t manage different passwords for all of your accounts, a secure password manager comes in handy.
Other steps you can take include:
- Turn on WPA2 encryption instead of original WAP or legacy WEP.
- Set your router to stealth mode to make it harder for attackers to find it online.
- Install firmware updates to protect your router from any fixed flaws.
- Disable UPnP on your router. This parameter can be used to change your DNS server as it usually trusts all requests from your local network.
- Warn family, friends, and colleagues not to accept fake email invitations, downloads, or requests and messages from social media.
After you have checked your router for malware and found that most of the above symptoms are present, you need to disinfect your computer in order to restore it to normal functioning.
Stay on top of routers, malware, hacks and other cybersecurity issues to protect your devices from future risks and keep you updated and informed. This way, you can make the best decisions to protect your router, computer and mobile devices.