If someone gets your password they can access your personal information and do a lot of damage. WiFi passwords are no exception. This type of password is what is used to secure most of our home and business networks that allow for wireless connections. This can also allow access to documents, phones, computers, and other electronic devices such as security.
Unlike a lot of the hacks we hear about where someone gets credit card information or access to personal data a WiFi password is generally not as crucial because you do have to be in close proximity to a WiFi network to access it. Knowing where it is can be as important as having the password.
What Happened with Comcast/Xfinity WiFi Passwords?
Comcast reported a bug that leaked customers SSID names and passwords of Xfinity routers. (The SSID is the network name). These passwords were accessible online but made worse by the fact that to find a given network one just needed to have an Xfinity account number and street number of the billing address. The street name was not required and all this information can be found on a bill and many other forms of documentation related to the Internet service.
Who is affected by the leaking of these WiFi Passwords?
Anyone who has a leased Comcast or Xfinity router could be affected. These are the ones that are provided by the company for home and office use. If you own your own router and just use a cable modem then you are not affected by this breach.
What kind of problem could happen if someone has the WiFi passwords for an area?
Attack scenarios range from malicious users logging into a customer’s password-protected network to snoop or performing data captures of information on the network. A malicious user could also lock you out of your own network by changing the password after they gain access.
What is the fix for securing WiFi Passwords that may have been disclosed?
Comcast has issued a patch that they say will prevent this problem going forward. Even with that being fixed if you think your password might of been disclosed you may consider changing it.
Unlike simply changing your password for a bank account, updating the WIFI password on your network can be a lot more complicated. This is a multi step process in which you first have to change the password in the router. This is accomplished from the Xfinity App, your Xfinity account or your own network. This link contains the specific instructions on exactly how to proceed.
Once this is complete you will also have to update the password on all of your wireless network devices. The procedure for this can be different for each device so it’s best to refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for a step by step process.
This how to video gives an overall idea of how this works. While changing the password on devices might be the only way to reconnect some of your equipment many devices support a function called “Wi-Fi Protected Setup”. This option allows you to repair your devices by pushing a button on the device and router and is available on most newer equipment.
As we push forward into the digital age, there are new ways being discovered by the bad guys to steal your information. It is important to remain vigilant. Always keep an eye on your accounts, especially financial accounts, and update your access information regularly. If you see something out of the ordinary contact your account provider. Even if it turns out that nothing is wrong it might prevent the loss of private information and resources. It is well worth checking.
William (Bill) Sikkens has been a technology expert for KXL on the Morning Show with Steve and Rebecca since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand. Article edited by Gretchen Winkler.
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