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Tech Q&A: How to end or prevent online hacking harassment

Steve Alexander, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Science & Technology News

How could your wireless signals be remotely blocked? A jammer near your home can interfere with the Wi-Fi, cellular or GPS radio frequencies. (See the Federal Communications Commission website, tinyurl.com/jv4v24g). Although jammers are illegal in the U.S., they can easily be purchased online.

The only way to prevent jamming is to report it to the police. I suggest you keep a log of when Wi-Fi or cellular signal interruptions occur. Note the date, time and duration of each incident and also take note of any unfamiliar vehicles in your neighborhood at the time (the range of jammers varies, but is often no more than 150 feet.)

How are Wi-Fi routers hacked? Sometimes hackers use sheer technical skill, but more often they gain access because no one changed the router's default password (such passwords are well-known among hackers.) Once a router is hacked, it can spy on your internet communications (stealing social media passwords, for example), help hackers attack your other Wi-Fi network devices and disrupt your internet access.

Replace your router. Many routers have their own protective firewalls (see tinyurl.com/mt6cfml). And, of course, change the new router's default password.

Remember that if your router has been hacked, your computers may have been, too. Download the free Malicious Software Removal Tool from Microsoft (see tinyurl.com/z85al7o), or the free version of the Malwarebytes security program (see tinyurl.com/j32jr94).

About The Writer

 

Steve Alexander covers technology for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Readers may write to him at Tech Q&A, 425 Portland Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minn. 55488-0002; email: steve.j.alexander@gmail.com. Please include a full name, city and phone number.

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