MUSCAT, JULY 20 - Experiencing a slow net? Data getting finished fast? Someone is stealing your bandwidth of your internet connection. Many people in the Sultanate are complaining about wi-fi leeching resulting in snail-paced net despite having unlimited high speed connection and bloated bills. Through a hacked router, criminals can also steal your personal information, send you to fake websites, upload malware, or even use your network to attack other networks. “Home users find internet is slow and end up paying high bills. Ironically, most of the users don’t know is that their wi-fi connection is hacked”, says Tariq Hilal al Barwani, founder of Knowledge Oman and Oman’s leading technology expert.
Although many home users change their wi-fi username and password often but the connection is compromised because these hackers access it without username and password. “Most wi-fi routers have a functionality which is vulnerable. WPS (wi-fi protected setup) makes easier for hackers to get into to the wi-fi router without username and password.” Many don’t know about this functionality which is turned on by default by the manufacturer. There are umpteen free apps available that enable a hacker to get into the network via this vulnerable feature. “The most important step to tackle this issue is to disable the WPS via the control panel / administration of the router”, says Al Barwani.
“Every router has an administrative panel which allows you to change the configuration of the router and through which you can disable the WPS.” Any WPS compatible device such as mobile, laptop, tablet can be connected through WPS. “Hacking or attempting to enter someone else’s Wi-Fi connection without permission is a criminal offense and it falls under cyber offense”, says a cyber cell official at the Royal Oman Police (ROP). “Offenders will be dealt with according to the cyber laws prevailing in the country with fines, imprisonment, deportation, as the case may be”, he said.