Wi-Fi (wireless LAN) is often used in workplaces, cafes, and home network environments, but convenient Wi-Fi has the potential to be hacked (hijacked).
If Wi-Fi is hacked, it can lead to information leakage and virus infection. This time, we will introduce what kind of damage there is if Wi-Fi is hacked, measures against Wi-Fi vulnerabilities, and what to do in case it is hijacked.
What is Wi-Fi Hijacking?
Wi-Fi hijacking (hacking) is a type of cyber-attack that intrudes into a network without authorization and is carried out for the purpose of stealing or misusing information on other people’s devices.
There are two types of networks: wired LAN and Wi-Fi (wireless LAN). Each feature is as follows.
- Wired LAN: Internet connection is possible only while the wired LAN cable is connected
- Wi-Fi (wireless LAN): No cables, can be connected from anywhere within the connectable range (distance)
Cyber attackers (hackers) hack by exploiting vulnerabilities in Wi-Fi (wireless LAN), using special hacking wifi adapter which makes it easy to intrude into networks.
WiFi Hacking method
Infiltrate publicly accessible Wi-Fi
The Wi-Fi router has an administrator password set. The administrator password is not the password used to connect to Wi-Fi, but the password used to log in to the router management screen and change the settings.
If you use the Wi-Fi router administrator password without changing it from the initial value, it may be guessed by an outsider. Also, even if you reset your password, it’s not completely secure. There is no limit on the number of times Wi-Fi password authentication can be performed, and connection attempts can be made any number of times . There is also an attack method that hacks passwords by brute force. There is a risk that the password will be guessed as a result of trying to authenticate the password many times.
Take control of your router’s firmware
Attackers take control of Wi-Fi routers by exploiting vulnerabilities in router firmware. An attacker can change the DNS server that your router connects to, causing a different fake page to load when you visit your website. There have been cases of phishing scams where users mistakenly enter their personal and payment information on the sites displayed here . You are at risk if your users haven’t updated their firmware or if they have vulnerabilities that the manufacturer doesn’t know about.
Build a fake access point
An access point is constructed by bringing another Wi-Fi router closer to the range where the Wi-Fi network can be used, and setting up a network connectable range different from the original Wi-Fi router. This is called a “fake access point” and is a method of stealing information exchanged by devices used there.
If access to a fake access point similar to public free Wi-Fi gathers, many people’s information may be stolen. In addition, the SSID (Wi-Fi name that can be confirmed on the device when connecting to Wi-Fi) of a fake access point is often set so that it cannot be distinguished from the original Wi-Fi. difficult to identify.
What Happens When Your Wi-Fi Is Hijacked
If Wi-Fi is hacked, there is a risk of leading to various damages such as the following.
- high bill
- Unauthorized access to the data on your device can lead to the theft and misuse of personal information such as credit card numbers.
- IDs and passwords for web services such as SNS may be stolen, and DMs may be sent or posted without permission. In the unlikely event that your account is abused and a third party criticizes you, threatens to commit a crime, or sends you a message stating that you have stolen money, there is a risk that you will be harmed not only by yourself, but also by those involved.
- Information leak
- Unauthorized access to device data can lead to the theft or deletion of important data. If customer information or confidential company information is stolen, there is a possibility that it will develop into a serious problem such as resale on the dark web.
- Virus infection
- A virus may be sent through unauthorized access to the device, data may be encrypted, the device may be frozen, or it may be controlled remotely. If one device is infected with a virus, the virus may spread to other devices through the network. In addition, damage caused by virus infection is extremely dangerous as there is a risk of developing damage such as information leakage, account abuse, and data falsification/deletion.
How to prevent Wi-Fi hijacking
Here are some things you can do to protect your Wi-Fi from being hacked.
Change your router’s admin password
At the initial setup stage, change the administrator password of the router from the initial value set by the manufacturer to the original value. Changing your password doesn’t give you complete peace of mind, but it’s more secure than just using it. This is because the passwords specified by the manufacturer have regularity, so there is a mechanism that it is possible to guess. By setting a unique password that is difficult to guess, you can reduce the risk of your password being discovered.
Update router firmware
Router firmware is updated from time to time to constantly improve vulnerabilities. Make sure to update to the latest. The timing and method of updating the firmware differ depending on the manufacturer and model, so it is a good idea to check the website.
Incorporate two-factor authentication
In addition to passwords, there is also “two-factor authentication” as a method to strengthen security.
Two-factor authentication is a method that employs a combination of two or more of the following authentication methods. Be sure to set it as a web service authentication method to prevent unauthorized login to online payments, SNS, and EC sites.
- Knowledge elements: passwords, passwords, etc.
- Biometric factors: fingerprint authentication, face authentication, etc.
- Proprietary elements: certificates, permits, etc.
Enable MAC filtering
You can prevent unauthorized access to Wi-Fi by unregistered devices by enabling the function to register the MAC addresses of devices that are allowed access to your Wi-Fi router. Devices that can connect to Wi-Fi, such as PCs and smartphones, have an identification number called a MAC address . Wi-Fi hacks can be prevented by enabling features like memberships, which allow only registered devices to use the network.
Also, in public places such as companies and facilities, it is a good idea to set up an Internet environment for guests as well. It is called a guest port and has the function of temporarily allowing network connections. Guests are allowed to use a network that is isolated from the existing network environment, keeping the existing network secure while allowing guest use.
Don’t use public Wi-Fi
Public free Wi-Fi is very convenient when you want to use the Internet on the go, but if you want to avoid the risk of hacking, such as for business use, it is best not to use it. Make sure to use mobile Wi-Fi with a password and the tethering function of your smartphone.
What to do if you suspect Wi-Fi hijacking
If you notice something strange while using Wi-Fi, take the following actions.
Do not respond to suspicious requests
The first thing you notice about a Wi-Fi hack is often something that happens to your device. In the first place, attackers who hack Wi-Fi are aiming to steal money, such as information exploitation, remote control, and fraudulent use of credit cards.
For example, hacking Wi-Fi, infecting the device with a virus, encrypting the data, and demanding a ransom in exchange for restoration. They can also steal your credit card information from your device and use it fraudulently, resulting in high bills.
However, please do not respond to such requests. Even if you pay the ransom, there is no guarantee that the data will be restored, and you may be complicit in the crime in the form of financial support. If your credit card is misused, report the fraudulent use to the credit card company and immediately take measures such as freezing the use.
Ask a specialist to investigate
If a Wi-Fi hack is suspected, investigation is required to establish the extent of the Wi-Fi hack damage. In addition to checking by yourself, we recommend that you ask a professional company to conduct a hacking investigation as a reliable method.
If Wi-Fi is hacked, devices connected to the network may be hijacked, leading to damage such as information leaks and remote control. If you have even the slightest suspicion of Wi-Fi hacking, consult a professional before it becomes such a situation.
This time, I introduced about hacking Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi is very convenient, and more and more companies and public places are accessible to everyone, but it is also a vulnerable point for hackers who abuse its convenience.
Keep your security environment safe by frequently resetting passwords and updating firmware.
Also, in the unlikely event that your Wi-Fi is hacked or you feel something is wrong, consider having a specialist conduct an investigation to stop the spread of damage.