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How to tell if your router has a virus, and what to do

28th April 2022
Once it’s up and running, you don’t pay much attention to your router… It sits there on the side, doing its thing and providing your much-needed Wi-Fi. Problem is, routers are one of the most common ways hackers attack IT networks.

Think about it…

Whether it’s for your business or home, your router supports a whole load of devices, including your phone, laptop, and your IoT devices, such as your electricity meter, or your fridge.

Let a hacker in via your router, and they have the opportunity to modify your whole network, which could cause all sorts of serious practical and financial problems, for you, and your business.

How does a router get a virus?

Usually, it comes down to poor security, such as using the default password instead of creating your own unique password (and updating it regularly), or buying a cheap router, with firmware that doesn’t update automatically.

But…

Don’t assume because you paid big bucks for your router that it can’t get hacked. Hackers are determined, and often attacking expensive routers pays bigger dividends.

And attacks can be back to front Hackers don’t necessarily have to go directly to your router to infect it. They can also start with your other (unsecure) devices, such as your laptop or phone.

The Switcher Trojan of 2016 is the perfect example, where hackers created a selection of fake Android apps that impersonated Chinese search engine, Baidu, and a Wi-Fi password sharing app. Once users (victims) downloaded the app then connected their phone to a router, the hackers were able to change the DNS server address and reroute the users traffic to a malicious address, and see everything they did online.

How do you know if your router is infected?

There are various clues to tell if your router has been hacked, but they’re not always obvious. Here’s a handy list to check off now:

  • Your DNS server address is changed
  • You’re redirected to websites you didn’t want to visit
  • Your computer is running slow
  • You keep getting fake antivirus or antimalware messages
  • You can’t access certain services

Of course, these things can also happen for other reasons, so if you’re unsure, contact a reputable IT service provider, preferably one who specialises in cyber security, and they’ll be glad to help you out.

What to do if you think your router has a virus

Below we’ve listed a few things you can try, if you suspect your router is infected with a virus.

  • Reset the router to factory settings** – Whilst this method is often successful at deleting malware, be aware that it’s not a solve-all method.
  • Change your passwords – If your router has been hacked, changing your passwords to something unique (12 letters, numbers and characters) is a good start to protecting your network.
  • Scan your device – Using good antivirus software to carry out a full scan of your computer, is another great way to route out and remove anything suspicious.
  • Secure your router with a VPN – If your router is VPN compatible, configure a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to mask your IP address and encrypt traffic.

Conclusion

Cyber threats are real, however they occur. And once you become a victim, the remediation period and cost could have a serious consequences for your business, and its ability to function.

So don’t delay…

If you think your cyber security strategy isn’t up to scratch, get it sorted asap!

Contact us

If you’d like help securing your IT network against viruses and malware, contact JamCrackers. We have over 10 years’ experience in providing businesses of all sizes and across many different sectors with highly effective, bespoke cyber security solutions. Call 0800 955 8041 or email us at info@jamcrackers.co.uk to find out more.