What are Router Viruses and Should You Be Worried

Routers, the devices that connect us to the internet, can be vulnerable to cyber threats. One such threat is the router virus, a type of malware that targets routers to disrupt network operations or steal personal information. Recognizing the signs of an infected router and understanding how to respond are vital steps in protecting your digital life against these invasive threats. 

This guide provides a comprehensive look at router viruses, including how to detect them, the types you might encounter, and practical strategies for removal and prevention.

What is a Router Virus?

Router viruses are malicious software programs designed to infiltrate your router. Unlike traditional viruses that target computers or smartphones, these specifically exploit vulnerabilities in router firmware. Once infected, hackers can redirect your internet traffic, steal personal information, or even use your network for illegal activities. Infections can occur through outdated firmware, weak passwords, or exploiting known vulnerabilities.

Types of Router Viruses

Router viruses come in various forms, each with its own method of infection and damage. For instance:

  • VPNFilter: A sophisticated malware that can steal information, block network traffic, and even render routers inoperable.
  • Switcher Trojan: Targets Android devices to change router DNS settings, redirecting traffic to malicious sites.
  • Moose: Spreads across networks to perform fraudulent activities on social media platforms.

Understanding these types can help identify and prevent specific threats to your router.

How to Tell if Your Router is Infected

If your router is infected with a virus, it might not immediately be apparent. Some of the most common signs of a breach include the following:

  • Unexpected advertisements or pop-ups.
  • Without your consent, changes to your DNS settings lead to scam or phishing websites.
  • Slower than usual internet speeds, indicating unauthorized use of your network.

Tools like network scanners can detect unauthorized devices connected to your network, indicating something isn’t right.

My Router is Infected, What Can I Do?

If you suspect your router is infected:

  • Isolate the Router: Disconnect it from the internet to prevent the spread of the virus.
  • Perform a Factory Reset: This removes most malware and erases your settings.
  • Update Firmware: After resetting, ensure your router’s firmware is up-to-date to patch vulnerabilities.
  • Change your router password: Most routers come with a preset username and password that you can use to log into the router’s administrative dashboard. These credentials can easily be found online. Be sure to change them. Use our password generator to ensure your credentials are secure enough.

These steps can help secure your router from immediate threats and restore your network’s integrity.


Router virus FAQs

Can Antivirus Remove Router Viruses?

Most antivirus software is not equipped to protect routers from viruses. It is designed to scan and remove malware from computers and mobile devices but does not directly interact with or scan the firmware of routers where router viruses exist. Router viruses infect the router firmware, and antivirus programs on connected devices cannot detect or remove these types of malware directly from the router. The best removal method is a factory reset.

Will a Router Virus Affect my Wi-Fi Connection?

Yes, a router virus can impact your Wi-Fi connection in several ways, including:

  • Slowing down internet speeds by consuming bandwidth or disrupting network traffic.
  • Causing unstable connections, leading to dropped connections or difficulty accessing the internet.
  • Allowing unauthorized access to your network can further strain bandwidth and compromise security.
  • Redirecting to malicious sites by changing DNS settings and redirecting wi-fi users to malicious sites.
  • Facilitating the spread of malware to devices on your network, leading to additional security risks.

To protect your Wi-Fi, update your router’s firmware regularly, change default passwords, monitor for unusual activity, and consider a factory reset if you suspect an infection.