Did you watch “Can crooks hack your home?” Shown on ITV.
A real example of how hackers can break into your home network was demonstrated with a van parked outside a volunteer’s home in Morecombe, positioned close enough to get the home-owner’s Wi-Fi signal.
Inside the van widely available scanning tools were used to find the Wi-Fi password, after 2 days the password was discovered. The discovered password was 8 upper case characters, although not the perfect password it was random and found reasonably quickly, my guess is that a more complex password consisting of 8 characters, upper and lower case, numbers and special characters could have also been discovered quickly, it is a few years since I did maths but I do know that by extending the password length from 8 to 10 will dramatically increase the time needed to determine the password.
A hacker now has access to the home network through the Wi-Fi and can freely interrogate other “things” connected to the home network; including the router/firewall.
Mitigate the risk
Here are a few simple suggestions to mitigate the risk of this type of hack occurring.
Deploy strong passwords with 10 random characters using upper and lower case, special characters and numbers.
Disable Remote Access
Ensure remote access to the router/firewall is disabled and a strong password is set to access the router from your network.
Set Strong Wi-Fi Passwords
Set your Wi-Fi passwords on the network to a strong password, many of use easy to remember passwords for this.
Use Guest Network
If your router supports “Guest network” then activate this feature and connect your friends and guests to this network when they visit, “Guest network” provides no access to your home network, a simpler password for your guest network is then plausible.
- Your non-guest Wi-Fi network is protected with a strong password but your visitors do not need this access or password.
- Your router/firewall and those connected “things” are now better secured.
- If your home has critical “things” attached to the network and your router does not support “Guest network” it might be worth upgrading to a better router or attaching a compatible wireless access point.
+++ Remember to never sign-in to any wireless network without Wi-Fi security.