New Delhi, March 17 (IANS) If the home Wi-Fi is what makes you feel secure for online transactions (including bitcoins), official work or sharing personal and sensitive data from the comfort of your bed, be very, very warned.
You might actually be surprised how easy it is to hack into your home Wi-Fi network, courtesy that humble router in the corner that you do not give a damn once installed by your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
According to Finnish cyber security firm F-Secure, for very little money, a hacker can rent a Cloud-enabled computer and guess your network's password in minutes by brute force or using the powerful computer to try many combinations of your password.
The threat is real and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recently issued an alert about Russia-sponsored hackers carrying out attacks against a large number of home routers in the U.S.
According to Sanjay Katkar, Joint Managing Director and CTO, Quick Heal Technologies, cyber criminals are known to exploit vulnerabilities in home Wi-Fi routers by delivering a payload.
"Once infected with the malware, the router can perform various malicious activities like redirecting the user to fake websites when visiting banking or other e-commerce sites," Katkar told IANS.
The hackers can also use the infected router for the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and other illegal activities. In a DDoS attack, the incoming traffic flooding the victim originates from many different sources.
"In addition to stealing personal and financial data, cyber criminals can also infect smart devices connected to the home network," Katkar warned.
There are over eight billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices today and by 2020, the installed base of connected devices is forecast to grow to almost 31 billion globally.
According to F-Secure, apply some mind into which router you purchase.
"Routers that come bundled with your internet connection or the most popular routers on sites like Amazon are also the ones that are most often hacked, because their popularity makes them an obvious target," says the cyber security firm.
It's possible that your router might have been hacked and you don't even know about it. By using a technique called DNS hijacking, hackers can breach the security of your home Wi-Fi.
"They can redirect your traffic to a website run by them, causing you to unwittingly give your credit card number or Facebook login credentials to a criminal," said F-Secure.
Your home Wi-Fi network can easily be broken into if you have a weak password.
"Customers should be cautious and look for a solution which can block this malicious traffic and secure all the devices like laptops/desktops, smartphones, smart TVs, smart speakers etc. connected to the home network," suggested Katkar.
Some ways to have a secure home Wi-Fi experience are to ask for a router that supports the newest Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security standard called "WPA3," announced recently by the non-profit Wi-Fi Alliance that promotes the technology technology and certifies Wi-Fi products.
You can also create a separate network for your guests with a different network name and password so in case of a hacking from their devices, your family data is secured.
The thumb rule is: always have a strong and super-secure password.
(Nishant Arora can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)