Lindsey, do you know if someone can spy on you through Wifi? This is one of the questions my readers ask a lot. Well, I´ve got you covered.
In the digital age, we rely on our WiFi all day, every day. We are connecting more and more devices to these networks in our homes and using smart technology to control almost every aspect of our lives. With that in mind, you might be wondering: can someone spy on you through WiFi?
There are numerous ways that your WiFi can be used to track and monitor you, as well as open up vulnerabilities for hackers to monitor your online activity.
Read ahead to find out how you might be at risk and what you can do about it.
Can You Be Spied On Through Your WiFi?
For most of us, WiFi in our homes is as ubiquitous as running water or heating. It has allowed us unprecedented conveniences, but is there room for people to exploit this omnipresent network of signals?
Through a technique described by Ben Zhao and Heather Zheng (Professors of Computer Science at the University of Chicago) as a “silent surveillance attack”, it is possible for someone to listen to the WiFi signals in your home through your walls and detect movement with a surprising amount of detail.
This process essentially allows people to see through walls. The “listener” can monitor the existing WiFi signals and determine how they are being disrupted by people and objects throughout your home.
This disruption can then be interpreted by a device known as a “WiFi sniffer”. Most homes are not made to completely block these signals either, so they can even be detected from outside.
In fact, some experiments have shown that this technology can even detect how someone’s finger is moving through the air or identify individuals by the way that they walk.
Researchers at Northwestern Polytechnical University in China found that they could correctly determine who was in a room around 9 times out of 10 using this technique.
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How Can Your WiFi Be Used To Spy On You?
Besides being able to tell where you are and how you are moving through your home, hackers can also use your WiFi network to spy on you in other ways.
If someone connects to your WiFi network, they will have access to all of the internet traffic on that network. That means that they can see everything that you are doing online, including shopping and banking.
This is obviously a major privacy issue, but it can be a significant security risk as well.
Hackers could see your banking details and the credentials that you enter when you are accessing your accounts.
On top of this, they can collect enough personal information about you to steal your identity and commit fraud.
Does Someone Need Your Password To Access Your WiFi?
You might think that having a password on your WiFi is all you need to keep people from accessing the network, but you would be surprised by how easy it is to hack into a router.
Through an attack known as Domain Name Server (DNS) hijacking, or DNS redirection, the queries that are sent back and forth between your router and the websites that you want to visit can be interrupted, monitored, and manipulated.
Hackers can gain access to the local DNS settings and see what you are doing on the web, control the way your devices interact with the internet, and redirect you to malicious websites without your knowledge.
How Can You Tell Whether Your WiFi Has Been Hacked?
Although it can be very difficult to know that this kind of attack is taking place, there are a few clues to look out for that may let you know your WiFi network has been accessed by an unwanted party.
- Slow internet. If your internet is a lot slower than usual, that can mean that more devices are connected than you are used to. The more people using your bandwidth, the slower your speed will be.
- Unknown Devices or IP addresses. If you log into your router’s settings, you can see which devices and addresses are connected to your network. This can show you whether it is just the phones, laptops, and TVs that you are expecting to see, or potentially unwanted additional devices as well.
- WiFi Settings Changed. Often, hackers will change your login details shortly after accessing your router, as this will prevent you from locking them out or taking action to protect yourself. If your WiFi password is no longer working, you should get in touch with your Internet Service Provider.
- Unexpected Software. If you are seeing programs, applications, or other software on your devices that you did not install yourself, it is possible that these have been added by a hacker.
If your WiFi has been hacked, you should perform a factory reset on your router, change your admin password and network name (SSID), and disable remote administration.
Then, scan your devices for malware and keep an eye on your bank account transactions.
How To Make Your WiFi More Secure
There are a few ways that you can ensure your WiFi is a little more secure and less vulnerable to hacking.
- Change your password. When you get a new router, change the SSID and password from the default, and use a strong password that contains uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Update firmware. Keeping your firmware up-to-date ensures that your router has as few vulnerabilities as possible.
- Use a secure VPN. A VPN can encrypt your traffic and prevent your online activity from being monitored.
- Enable WPA2 encryption. WPA2 encryption is a setting that is available on many routers.
- Antivirus software. A robust and comprehensive antivirus software is always important for identifying potential malware and/or viruses.
So, can someone spy on you through WiFi? The nature of WiFi signals means that someone can detect the movement and objects in your home in order to spy on you.
It is also possible for hackers to access your WiFi network to monitor your activity online, control how your devices access the internet and direct you to malicious websites that can then install malware on your devices.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make your network more secure and less vulnerable.
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