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Private network company NordVPN has warned internet users of a trend where hackers take control of unprotected Wi-Fi routers.
The company outlined an attack by hackers that targets poorly protected routers.
Once compromised, hackers would direct internet users to a fake World Health Organisation (WHO) web page that told them to download and complete an online application.
The application would then provide the hackers with the user’s data.
“This attack affected almost 1,200 users who didn’t protect their home internet enough,” NordVPN cybersecurity expert Daniel Markuson said in a statement.
The attack is notable, because it targets one of the most common internet devices found in homes.
According to a NordVPN Internet of Things (IoT) survey, more than 63% of people said they had a router or internet hub at home.
Despite this, it is often left vulnerable.
“According to our research, many users do nothing to protect their smart devices, so the situation might repeat itself in the future if users’ habits don’t change,” Markuson explained.
Hacked routers can lead to unwanted users accessing networks, slowing speeds, and potentially using them for illegal activity.
It can also lead to users spying on peoples’ internet traffic and redirecting them to malicious websites.
How to protect your Wi-Fi router from hackers
At the same time, NordVPN listed several ways that users could protect their routers from hackers.
“When it comes to hacking computers or phones, the dangers seem to be clear to most of the users,” Markuson said.
“However, Wi-Fi routers don’t store any information, so users pay little attention to protecting them.”
NordVPN recommended users change the default password that comes with their routers. They can also turn off SSID broadcasting so that your network name doesn’t appear on lists of available Wi-Fi networks.
The company also recommended that users install a VPN on their routers. This will encrypt the internet on every device connected to it and scramble the data for hackers.
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