Check your router security

The F‑Secure Router Checker is currently receiving a refresh. In the mean­time, we would like to offer you tips on how to optimize your router security.

The F‑Secure Router Checker is currently receiving a refresh

We’ve been hard at work during the past few months to improve F‑Secure Router Checker free tool. We want to ensure that we offer the best user experience and quality so that the tool is even more valuable for you. We estimate to release the newly improved F‑Secure Router Checker early 2024. In the mean­time, we would like to offer you tips on how to optimize your router security.

How does an internet router work?

An internet router is a device that connects other devices to the internet. Instead of every device connecting directly to the internet, they connect to the router. The router then routes the flow of data to and from the devices connected to it.

Most devices are incapable of connecting online without a router in between. Computers and mobile devices as well as many smart devices such as home appliances, entertainment systems and gaming consoles are typically connected to the internet via a router. Nowadays this usually happens wirelessly with a Wi‑Fi network created by a router.

By managing all internet traffic, the router plays a big role in keeping internet-connected devices in a wireless network safe from outside threats, such as hacking attempts and denial of service (DoS) attacks. Luckily, many routers offer additional safety features that make connecting to the internet safer. You should still be aware of and prepared for potential threats to your router, and as a consequence, all devices in the network.

What is DNS hijacking?

Computers use number-coded addresses to connect to web­sites. Thanks to DNS (Domain Name System), you do not need to use these complex number codes. Instead, you just type URL addresses. URLs are much easier to remember. DNS automatically translates web addresses so both machines and humans can under­stand them. This happens each time you connect to a site.

DNS hijacking is a threat that involves the Domain Name System. In this type of attack, online criminals hack into your router and hijack your DNS to route you to malicious web­sites. DNS hijacking is also known as DNS redirection as it involves redirecting your online traffic.

The website you are redirected to may look legitimate and secure but is in fact designed to steal sensitive information and money, or infect your device with malware. Online criminals are often after their victim’s pass­words, financial information and other personal details that can be used in identity theft or impersonating the victim, for instance. DNS hijacking can also be used by the internet service provider (ISP) or some other third party to display advertisements or limit certain functionalities.

Other common threats to your router security

DNS hijacking is only one of many potential threats to your router security, and therefore, your private information, online identity and money. Compromised devices, routers and user accounts are also not a threat to only your personal router security but may compromise other people’s cyber security as well. Some other common threats to your home router include:

  • Denial of service attacks. DoS attacks work by overwhelming your router’s capacity with large amounts of traffic. As a consequence, the targeted devices may be unable to connect to the internet or make them vulnerable to additional cyber attacks. Online criminals can also infect devices with malware to be used in a massive DDoS attack against a single large target.
  • Malware. Just like your computer or mobile devices, malware can infect your router as well. This malware can for example change your DNS settings or expose your devices to further attacks and infections.
  • Phishing. Online criminals use creative phishing attacks and scams to trick their victims to give away valuable information or direct them to malicious web­sites. Phishing is among the methods used by online criminals to find out information about your router, such as the login credentials used to access the router.

How to improve your router security

Luckily there are many things you can do to improve the security of your router, home Wi‑Fi network and devices connected to it.

  • Firmware updates. Regularly updating your router’s firmware helps to make sure that there are no vulnerabilities that can be exploited by online criminals. By turning on automatic updates, you can ensure that you will not accidentally miss new updates for your router.
  • Disable remote management. If remote management is turned on, it can compromise the router for unauthorized access. You can do this from the router’s settings and configurations.
  • Check your router settings. Using the default router settings can pose a risk as online criminals will have an easier time breaking in.
  • Set up a guest network. Instead of sharing your login credentials with people who want access to your home Wi‑Fi, consider setting up a guest network that they can use instead. You can connect vulnerable IoT devices to the guest network as well to minimize the risk of hackers exploiting their flaws.
  • Use a firewall. Turn on the built-in firewall if your router has one. Although a firewall alone is not enough to keep your home Wi‑Fi network secure, it is a great additional layer of security for protecting your devices.
  • Use strong pass­words. Strong pass­words are not essential to just router security. Make sure to use unique passwords on all your accounts and devices. A strong pass­word is long enough with both uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. It should also be difficult to guess. You can make managing all of your different complex pass­words easier with a pass­word manager tool.

Are public Wi‑Fi connections safe?

An adequately managed and protected home Wi‑Fi network is safe to use, but what about public Wi‑Fi? Although public Wi‑Fi networks are a convenient way to get online, for instance in a café or while traveling, they can be unsafe and controlled or monitored by online criminals. Therefore, using public Wi‑Fi unprotected can put your device at risk. To browse in public Wi‑Fi safely, consider getting a VPN (virtual private network) on your mobile devices and laptop.

A VPN creates a secure tunnel that routes your traffic through a remote VPN server. This way your IP address is hidden and third parties, including online criminals, cannot snoop on your online activities. Using a VPN does not help you only when accessing public Wi‑Fi but at home as well. Browsing the internet with a VPN encrypts your data and online activities. It can also protect you from DNS hijacking and stop online criminals from redirecting your online traffic to malicious web­sites.

F‑Secure Total protects all your online activities

Router security is only one aspect of protection during your online activities. In addition to a safe router, you need an all-round cyber security solution to protect you from online criminals, cyber attacks, malware and other threats. F‑Secure Total offers all that and more. Use Total’s advanced anti­virus soft­ware to fend off malware both on your mobile devices and computer while browsing safely with our VPN. Mean­while, F‑Secure Total’s Identity Protection tools help you manage your online identity and different pass­words with ease.

Try F‑Secure Total for free on your mobile devices, desktop and laptop computers and get protected.

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