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