A wifi router is one of the most important factors in the quality of your internet connection, and it’s your gateway to the internet. For this reason, you need to ensure that it stays in good health.
Most people aren’t aware that your router is actually vulnerable to being attacked by a virus or malware. Although it’s common associated with computers and laptops, other devices can also be subject to malware.
It can be pretty difficult to know whether your router has a virus or not. So if you’re trying to figure it out, here’s a few telltale signs that your wifi router has a virus.
5 common router virus symptoms & what to do about them
There are various different things that may indicate that you’ve got a virus on your router. This can range from slow upload speeds all the way to your device completely crashing on you.
Unfortunately, a lot of these different possibilities can also be down to other things, like a poor internet connection. So, ensure that you check what else may be causing the problem too. First, we’ll look at the main ways you can tell if your router has a virus.
How to tell if your router has a virus
Your internet has slowed down
Having slow internet is pretty common, especially at the moment with more of us working from home. Much of the time, this actually isn’t down to having a virus, so try not to just to conclusions straight away.
It could just be down to more devices competing for your bandwidth when you’re at home, or it could be something to do with your internet service provider. You should check with them to see if their service is down in your area.
But if you’ve already checked this, then it may actually be malware on your router. A typical sign of this is when the wifi slows down a lot very suddenly, and there’s not really any other explanation for it.
Because of the additional resources that your computer or device is using, it’ll start to become really slow. This means that even when you’re connected to the internet, your web browser will be sluggish.
Something else that may happen if your router is infected with malware is random redirects when you’re browsing online. You may click to go on one website, but then get taken to somewhere completely different.
This is a common sign of DNS hacking. They’re essentially trying to redirect you to a specific website where hopefully, you’ll click through to something or give some personal details. Fortunately, as long as you don’t click through or enter your financials, you should be okay with just closing the window.
Very similar to random redirects, this is another sign that you’ve been hacked by some form of adware. They’ll commonly be trying to get you to sign up for something or pay for something. Ironically, they’ll often try to get you to sign up for an antivirus.
Pop ups are a pretty typical sign of a virus, and they’re more likely to occur with Windows 10 as opposed to other operating systems.
One of the main reasons why people may think that they have a virus in the first place is when their laptop or computer crashes.
It’s not uncommon for your device to crash from time to time, and there are many different potential causes to the problem. It’s just as likely that your device has overheated as it is infected with malware.
In some cases, malware can spread from your router through to the operating system on your device. So, this is another sign that you’ve got a virus.
You notice new software
Another way that you may be able to tell whether your router has a virus is if you’re starting to notice software on your device that you didn’t install yourself.
This could be from something as small as a new extension in your Chrome browser. Even so, having random software installed on your laptop or computer suggests that your router may be hacked.
How to fix a virus on your router & keep malware away
The good news is that even if you’ve already got a virus on your router, there is something you can do about it. It’s also worth knowing how to keep your router from being infected in the first place too.
Update your router
Pretty much all of us in the UK have a router or hub that we connect to when we’re at home. But how many of us keep them updated? I’d guess that a fair amount of people aren’t even aware that your router needs updating from time to time.
It is usually very straightforward to update the firmware on your home router. Essentially, whenever the company find any potential security flaws with your router, they’ll release a new update. So, ensuring that it’s updated is the best way to ensure your router doesn’t get attacked.
Utilize Safe Mode
If you think that there’s some form of malware installed on your device, then it’s a good idea to check. You can do this by turning your computer or laptop off, and then restarting it in Safe Mode.
Using Safe Mode will allow you to try and find any software that’s on your device. When you’ve loaded up your computer, then you should open Task Manager (or Activity Monitor if you’re using a Macbook).
This will allow you to see all of the programs that are currently running on your device. You should be able to identify if something is using a lot of processing power, and then go ahead and force it to quit.
Get an Antivirus + activate firewall
It might sound a little obvious now, but ensuring that you have a good antivirus is the key to not having to worry about malware in the future.
Not all softwares are equal, and some are going to be better than others. A good antivirus should be able to protect you from not only malware, but also other potentially dangerous attacks like ransomware and cam hijacking.
You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money on an antivirus software for it to be good. There are even a couple of free ones that you may want to check out too, with Avast and Panda Security having good reputations.
You’ll also want to check your firewall settings on your router too. Many routers will come with a firewall integrated into it, so it may be worth looking at these too.
Restart the router
The safest thing that you can do if you suspect there’s malware on your router is to completely reset it. Not just turn it off and on again – you’re going to want to completely factory reset your router.
This should bring it back to its factory settings. When this is done, afterwards you should change the password on your router too. This extra level of protection can help to ensure that no-one gets access to your router again.
Now, these aren’t definitive by any means – just because you’re experiencing one of them, doesn’t mean that your router is bugged down with malware.
In conclusion, it’s always worrying if you think that your router or another device in your house has been attacked with a virus. But in the modern world, it’s still possible to have some sort of malware on your router.
The good news is that even if your router has got a virus on it, then there are a few ways that you can fix the issue. So, it’s not something to worry about too much, as long as you’ve not given away any personal information.