We can find wireless networks almost everywhere we go these days. Most of them will be secured by passwords, but many of them will also be using the default name for their wireless network, given when that internet connection was first set up. The problem with this is that default network names very often include the name of the internet service provider (ISP). Knowledge of this name gives away crucial information which can be used by attackers to break through any router security that exists.

The routers that ISPs send to their customers are usually from a very limited range. The knowledge that a household uses a particular ISP therefore hugely narrows down the range of routers which could be being used for their wireless network. And hackers are well aware of the latest way to hack routers, and specifically how to target specific models of routers. Their hacks bypass any security settings (even passwords), and therefore put the network’s users at great risk, since the attackers can now use the router to inspect the communications coming and going to household devices. This can mean attackers getting hold of extremely valuable information, and use this for all sorts of malicious purposes.

Although it is common knowledge that a router’s username and password should be changed from the default setting, the need to change a router’s default network name is not discussed as much despite also being extremely important. It is therefore also highly advisable to change the default network name which a router might have. For home networks, the changed name should also avoid including any personal details of the family (such as name(s)), or house number of the household to which the network belongs. This makes it harder for an attacker to know any details about exactly who it is they are attacking, and also because putting up such information suggests to attackers that the users of that network are unlikely to be very security conscious either.

With the rise in identity fraud and other targeted hacks such as doxxing, we all need to be better aware of how to prevent our networks being hacked into. Despite not being a commonly discussed problem, the issue of using default network names should be one that is known about more widely, and one that all of us ensure to pay attention to.