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Regularly losing internet connectivity does not indicate that your router is being hacked. Start by looking at connectivity issues.

My question concerns a possible security breach to my network. When my router goes offline, and this happens quite often, would I be wrong in thinking that someone might be trying to hack into my network via the radio signal being beamed from my router? The way I usually resolve this is to unplug it and then replug the router and I can get right back online. What can cause this sudden loss of internet connection through my router? Can you think of ways of preventing this from happening again? Or the ways of stopping it all together?

In this excerpt from Answercast #97 I look at some problems with a router that disconnects regularly. It's probably not a hacker.

Router being hacked

So to answer the very first question, yes, I believe you're wrong. No, I don't think anybody's trying to hack your router.

I think you just have a connectivity problem. I think that there are a couple of different things that can be diagnosed here.

Failing router connection

To be honest, the very first thing I would do in a situation like this (since it all seems to be focusing around that router) is I would try swapping that router for a different one. It's very possible that the router is simply having an issue staying connected.

The other thing that I would do is, of course, take a look at your internet connection itself. It is very possible that the internet connection itself is dropping out. That can happen for any number of different of reasons. I've had it happen here at my home simply because a wire outside my house got wet.

There are many reasons that that kind of thing can happen and it's very rare that it has anything to do with a potential security breach.

So I would actually start investigating the router. I would start investigating your internet connection itself, possibly with the help of your ISP.

Router disconnects

I do have an article, "My router disconnects every few days. What do I do?" That also covers the same kind of topic that I would refer you to.

But ultimately, I want to put your mind at rest to begin with. I really don't think this is security related at all. I really think that this is something a lot more benign; a lot more boring; and that is simply a router or a connectivity problem.

(Transcript lightly edited for readability.)

Article C6344 - March 9, 2013 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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6 Comments
Bonita
March 12, 2013 11:06 AM

After a few years of good service, my router suddenly began disconnecting and having to be rebooted. Verizon tech support was able to do some testing on their end and, while I was on the phone, reported that the router was not performing well. They sent a new one by UPS that arrived next day. Problem solved.

mix
March 12, 2013 12:50 PM

Also most modern routers allow an email notification, for any and every attempted unauthorised intrusion on it. Set it up and set your mind at rest.

rt1
March 13, 2013 4:20 AM

Could also be a power issue. Router plugged into the same circuit with some appliance that has a motor (microwave, well, furnace). Make sure your plugged in to a good circuit.

snert
March 13, 2013 9:54 AM

I had the same problem some years back in windy or rainy weather - frequent drop-outs. I complained to Version (several times) and finally a tech checked my input. She found bad cables and connectors. She was surprised I was getting anything. After she replaced ALL their lines (and a splitter) there's been no problems.

James
March 13, 2013 6:02 PM

Hasn't happened for a while, but my router would lose the internet connection every few days (my router and modem are two separate boxes). Logging into the router and clicking the "DHCP Renew" button. I don't really know what it does or why it works, but it's generally faster than rebooting the router (less than 30 seconds).

It hasn't done it for a while ... the mysteries of computers!

xlrock
March 20, 2013 6:27 AM

While browsing the net, my connection would slow to a stand still. Not able to do anything in my browsers. Several times a day. Almost every day. Since the modem router worked okay other times, I determined it had to be security. Changing passwords didn't help. Hiding the ssid did not help. Or a couple of other settings. What did fix it was allowing only the mac addresses of my devices to connect. Have only had a problem 1 time since.

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