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Never Changed My Router Password - Got Attacked?

  1. Sep 25, 2016 #1
    I know you're supposed to change your router password from the default one you get when you sign up for Verizon Fios.

    I didn't.

    This was four months ago. The past three weeks my IPAD has been operating very slowly and can't seem to play media very well (either doesn't load or takes literally 5-10 minutes just to load - not even play yet), such as YouTube vids.

    Could I have been hacked from someone who knew or found out my router password? I've read online that it's pretty easy to find someone's default router password (not sure why that is...does Verizon literally just list it???).

    Wondering what I should do now.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Uh change your password now to eliminate it from the mix as this may not be the problem. Have you been using a lot of bandwidth where your ISP has throttled your connection?

    You could call them to see whats the deal. I had a problem like this once and it was due to a modem swap that Time Warner wanted to complete. SInce I never saw the message, things just started to slow down.
  4. Sep 25, 2016 #3
    Not using a lot of bandwidth, but did visit a shady website as well (on top of the router password issue).
  5. Sep 26, 2016 #4
    Default passwords are public, thats the point of a default password, if you lose the documentation you received with the device, then you shouldn't be locked out forever. You reset the device and use the default password to log in and do the setup again and then change the password.

    It is possible that someone may have attacked your router, however I do not believe it is very likely. A lot of these routers almost never get patched or updated so when a vulnerability is discovered, it doesn't get fixed. But most of these vulnerabilities cannot be exploited without some user interaction. You generally need to browse to a malicious website first that will run the code to exploit the vulnerability. Not only that, the exploit needs to be crafted for your type of modem/router.

    It's doable but generally not worth the effort to hack some random joe, especially given the consequences if you are caught.

    That said, make sure you take jedishrfu's advice and change the default passwords/wifi password to something that is at least 10 characters long. More = Better.

    If i was you, i'd first investigate if this was an environmental issue or not. Try moving around the house, get close to your router and see if the speed gets better. Try different devices, a PC that's connected with a wire instead of wifi, another device like a phone, etc. This will help you narrow down what the issue is. If the issue is occurring with all the devices you have, wire or wireless, then it's time to call your ISP. There maybe a hardware issue with the router that's causing it, or maybe the signal strength (if you have cable) has gone down for some reason.

    Take your ipad to your friends place and then test to see how it behaves there. If it's slow there too, them maybe the problem is the ipad itself.

    Right now, there's a tonne of different things that can be causing your slowdowns. Narrow them down first and then you'll have a better idea of how to proceed on this issue.
  6. Sep 26, 2016 #5
    Could always try powering the router off (30 secs) then on..
  7. Sep 26, 2016 #6
    quick question (on the run - gotta watch that Hillary vs. Trump debate!!:biggrin:) guys:

    If someone DID hack my router and I change my router ID and password, would they be able to SEE me doing so?

    I was just thinking that if I had been hacked and that user "planted" something into my computer or using some other means, then they could possibly know what I was changing my router into to....Is that a possibility?

    Thanks for everyone's help! I appreciate the answers and will try to check some stuff out.
  8. Sep 27, 2016 #7
    You could have been hacked, regardless if they had access to your router or not. Depending, if any, malware is on your computer there may be a keylogger. What security software do you use? And if you have it, have you done a scan? (I am assuming you have more than just an iPad.)
  9. Sep 27, 2016 #8
    The chances of this are extremely remote. You have to remember, for someone to want to steal your data, they have to first believe that your data is worth stealing. The vast majority of us are not worth the effort.

    At best, if someone did compromise your system, it would have been a bot that configured your router be part of a bot network to take part in DDOS attacks which are often used as a means to grind a large business to a halt and then ask for a ransom in exchange to stop the attack. I do not believe you need to really be concerned in terms of someone stealing your information. But again, to compromise routers, the attack has to be specially crafted for your type of router. It's much more beneficial to attack computer systems instead.

    That said, you can check to see if your router has been tampered with. You'll need to look at the technical manual for your device to find out how to check the firmware that's installed (size/version/date installed/etc) and compare those values to see if it's changed from what the router is supposed to have. For example, if you notice that the firmware was updated 3 weeks ago, or the firmware size is larger by a couple KB than it's supposed to be, then maybe it's time to call your ISP and ask if changes had been recently made to your device. If not, then request a replacement as you no longer trust your device.

    As Stevie suggested, install a reputable antivirus on your computer system (mcafee/norton/etc.) and then run full system scans.
    I ran a pentest a couple weeks back on one of my windows 7 VMs that was running norton antivrus. Most of the common obfuscation techniques used to defeat AV programs did not work. So norton, at least, came a long way.

    If these scans don't turn up anything, then you're most likely okay. Not a 100% guarantee but most likely. If you genuinely do not trust your computer systems, then the only way to achieve a reasonable level of confidence is to wipe (format/reinstall) the operating system. Even this is not a guarantee but someone would have to be very specifically interested in you for this to be a concern. For the average person, a wipe is enough to ensure that the system is clean. This applies to both a PC as well as a mobile device like a phone or tablet.
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