Virgin Media Router Hacking Compromises 800,000 Customers: Here's How To Stay Safe

Anu Mantri

With so many devices now reliant on the internet and people frequently accessing Wi-Fi, maintaining the security and privacy of mobile devices, smart speakers, or laptops has become of paramount importance. Tech companies around the world are waging a continuous war against hackers and others who present a danger to security.

However, the defense in some cases is not strong enough to guarantee protection. A recent investigation discovered that people using a particular router from Virgin Media may be especially at risk of getting hacked if they do not take proper precaution.

After the results of the investigation came to light, Virgin Media advised more than 800,000 customers of its Super Hub 2 router to change their default passwords, if they had already not done so.

Virgin Media's Super Hub 2 Router Vulnerable To Attack

An investigation from Which? discovered that people using the Super Hub 2 router were vulnerable to hacking attempts, which could give cyber attackers access to the networks, as well as the devices connected to them.

"The security of our network and of our customers is of paramount importance to us. We continually upgrade our systems and equipment to ensure that we meet all current industry standards," a spokesperson for Virgin Media said.

The Which? study tested the security of the Super Hub 2 router by analyzing the protection levels of devices such as smart gadgets, children's Bluetooth toys, and wireless cameras connected to the Virgin Media's Super Hub 2 router. The researchers found that some devices were particularly difficult to hack, such as the Amazon Echo smart speaker, but most of the gadgets presented at least one glaring flaw that escalated security concerns. In fact, eight gadgets out of the 15 tested showed at least one security concern.

The tests revealed that Fredi Megapix CCTV cameras operating over the internet were very easy to take control of, and hackers could not only see the video feed from the CCTV camera but also move it according to their whims.

What Is It That Makes Routers Vulnerable?

While the recent test revealed the flaws in security of Virgin Media's Super Hub 2 router, researchers say that these risks are not only limited to Virgin's network. Here are a few reasons which make almost all routers vulnerable to hacking.

Many routers arrive with a pre-assigned default password and most people do not bother changing this. Many routers are vulnerable due to the shorter passwords used by people and also due to the same pattern of letters repeated in the password.

The Super Hub 2 router, for instance, used just eight-letter-long passwords and did not support numeric or upper case letters. These alpha-numeric and casing variables, when included in a password, make it strong and difficult to crack.

Tips To Pick A Secure Password To Stay Safe From Hackers

While picking a password, people need to remember a few important tips so that their devices remain secure and the chances of getting hacked are minimal.

Firstly, it is important to use different passwords for every account that a person creates and maintains online. This would ensure that even when one of them is hacked, the other accounts are secure.

Another way of ensuring password security and strength is to make a memorable – but unusual – sentence and remember the first letter of each word in that sentence as the password.

[Featured Image by Cristina Nixau/iStockphoto]