Recover from hacked wifi

If someone against access to your home network it is not just them using up your bandwidth that causes problems. The hacker may use your network to hack others, download illegal content and gain access to the computers and devices on your home network. If you think someone has unauthorised access to your home network it is important to act fast.

To check what devices are connected to your home wireless router you can log onto the router’s admin console page (see online guide here) and navigate to the section that lists connected devices. If you don’t recognise a device on there then it is time to take action.

Hacked wifi - Do this first!

  1. Change router admin console password - log into your router and change the password used to access your routers admin page. This will ensure the perpetrator cannot take control of your router. This guide covers how to access the router’s admin page and also what to do if the perpetrator has locked you out.

  2. Change wireless network password - once the admin password is changed also change the password used to join your wireless password. Make this a unique and complex password.

Approaches to dealing with a hacked home wifi network

  1. Update router software - the perpetrator may have hacked your router using a known vulnerability in the routers software. Update your routers software to get access to the latest security updates. A guide for popular routers can be found here.

  2. Contact your internet service provider - You may want to contact your ISP and let them know that your router has been hacked and that you are worried about what the hacker was up to on your network. Depending on the ISP they will be able to support and provide advice.

  3. Scan your devices for malware - there are a number of ways the perpetrator may have got your log in details - from a past breach (you can check known breaches here), guessed it, seen you type it in or you may have told them in the past. However, they could also have malicious software on one of your devices that gives them access to what you type into websites. Scan all of the devices with an anti-virus solution and remove any malware.

Report the crime

If you are in England, Wales or Northern Ireland you should report all cyber crime to Action Fraud. In Scotland, you can see details of reporting to Police Scotland here.

How do I avoid my wifi being hacked again?

By taking the following actions you can greatly reduce the chance of someone gaining access to your home network again.

  • Regularly change wifi password -  follow good password guidance and regularly change the password used to get access to your wireless network. See some good guidance here.

  • Change admin password - new wireless routers come with default users name and password for use at set up. As soon as you get a new router login and change the default username and password.

  • Don’t broadcast your routers details - by default the wireless network name (the SSID) often broadcasts the type of router you are using or the internet service provider you are using. Change the name of the wireless network as soon as you get it set up.

  • Disable wifi protected setup (WPS) - WPS allows you to connect a device at the push of a button or by entering a short PIN. However, this has been proven to be an insecure function and is straightforward for a hacker to target and gain access. If possible, disable this functionality.

  • Regularly check connected devices - As described above, you can log into your routers control panel and check what devices are logged in to your network. Check every so often and investigate any you don’t recognise.

  • Update your firmware - firmware is the software that makes your router work. As security flaws are found updates become available to fix the flaws and make your router more secure. Regularly update the router’s firmware and enable auto-update if available. A guide for popular routers can be found here.

  • Set up a guest network - If your router allows you to set up a separate wifi network for guests do it. This sets up a separate wifi network that is not connected to the network that all of your devices are connected to and limits the chance of someone using it to access your devices.


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