What are Wi-Fi repeaters
How does a Wi-Fi repeater work? It is a device that allows, as its name suggests, repeat wireless signal. Let’s say we have a router in one room and we want to connect from the other end of the house. If we try to connect a computer, mobile or any device directly to the router, we may not even be able to establish the connection or there may be continuous cuts and it may go slow.
To overcome this problem we can use a repeater. We place it somewhere between the router and the area where we will need to improve the signal. This device will repeat the signal it receives from the router and, in this way, it will reach the other end of the house from where we are going to connect a computer or any other equipment.
So basically the repeater acts as bridge between the router and other devices. It is used to carry the signal from one place to another without the distance influencing so much. Logically we will not have coverage and speed the same as if we connect next to the router, but it will help to improve significantly.
Do not confuse a Wi-Fi repeater with other devices that also serve to improve coverage, such as PLC devices or Mesh systems. The operation of these other devices is different, although they have the same objective of allowing us to connect in other areas of the house without cuts or loss of speed as far as possible.
Why a Wi-Fi repeater can be insecure
Are Wi-Fi repeaters unsafe? The short answer is no. Today these devices have all the security standards to prevent intruders and attacks that could compromise the connected equipment. Now, this is the same thing that we can say about a router or any other device and that, when the time comes, could have problems of security.
Therefore we can say that yes, a Wi-Fi repeater could become insecure. Why is this happening? We have seen cases where there have been vulnerabilities Criticisms affecting home Wi-Fi repeaters. This could even allow an attacker to remotely access the network. For example it can happen by changing the header of the HTTP request to the repeater.
This we mentioned means that an attacker who manages to exploit a vulnerability of this type could redirect traffic to malicious pages. Let’s take as an example that we want to enter our Facebook account through this repeater that has been attacked. The hacker could refer us to a web page that pretends to be from the social network and thus steal passwords and credentials.
Even that repeater could become part of a botnet. This means that it could be part of a series of devices (which can be thousands) that have been infected to later carry out attacks by the cybercriminal.
But of course, for a Wi-Fi repeater to become insecure it would be necessary for it to be outdated, not to have security patches, to be unprotected … In short, that we make certain mistakes.
Another point to note is that some Wi-Fi repeaters have the WPS protocol. This makes the authentication process easier and makes it easier to connect devices. But of course, this can also serve as a gateway for attackers.
Tips for staying safe
After explaining that a Wi-Fi repeater can become unsafe if we do not take certain measures, we want to give a series of important tips to avoid it. Some recommendations that we can put into practice in our day to day when using Wi-Fi repeaters in our home.
Have the repeater always updated
A very important point is to have the Wi-Fi repeater always updated. We have seen cases of vulnerabilities that appear and can be exploited by cybercriminals. These errors can be corrected with the patches released by the manufacturers themselves.
Therefore, we must always make sure that we have the latest versions. This not only applies to the wireless repeater itself that we are using, but also to the router and any device that we connect. If we have all the existing updates we can reduce the impact of these attacks.
Use a strong password on the router
Of course we must also use a strong password on the router. After all, it is the main device to which all the others are going to connect. We need you to have a key that is strong and complex. We must never leave the one that comes from the factory when buying the device, nor use passwords that are weak and can be easily exploited.
A good key is one that is totally random, that has uppercase and lowercase letters, as well as special symbols. For example 3Di / & fsd) 8-q8H. As we can see, it has all kinds of symbols, letters and numbers and also randomly.
Disable WPS access
Many Wi-Fi repeaters have the WPS protocol. This first can be very useful to make connections easier and to make the authentication process faster. But of course, it can be a security problem if there is a vulnerability, for example.
In this case the advice is to disable WPS access from the router. If at any given time we are going to need it, for example if we have visitors, we can always activate it again. But the fact of having it deactivated will reduce the probability of suffering attacks.
In short, we can say that a Wi-Fi repeater could become a security problem. It is important to know what its main dangers are and to be prepared to avoid any attack that affects us. Basically the main thing is that it is up to date and protect the connection.