Need Help, Being Hacked...

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Abby1
Friendly Neighbour

Hello, I am being harassed by someone who apparently has technical friends and am being repeatedly hacked. Some examples are being redirected to a bizarre address when trying to disable WPS in router - "server connection lost, redirecting to "Null"...". Devices that are unplugged and haven't been connected in months suddenly showing up as connected to the Wi-Fi. People park in front of our house and "sniff" and then a few hours later or a day later, we have spoofing, our internet and TV services go down (and the Telus Techs cannot see the redirects - is that the correct term?) we get random strange texts and emails on all of our devices, our vpns won't connect or are constantly going down when they are stable when elsewhere and almost every time we try to reset the router, we are blocked when trying to change admin passwords, Wi-Fi passwords, disabling WPS, reducing our Wi-Fi strength, etc. Telus changed our router last night - brand new one and we already have people parking in front of our house. I have it unplugged right now. The person harassing me/us is my next door neighbour, only a few feet away from us. The police have been involved in many other aspects of his harassment, but don't seem interested in taking on anything technical. We have Telus internet, home phone and Optik TV. We have an Actiontech T300M router and all of our TV boxes are wired, but with a Moka device attached. I only have one connected these days to reduce the risk. Does anyone know if my router can be accessed through the Optik network that is being broadcast or have any suggestions as to how we might secure our network and devices? I would appreciate any suggestions anyone might have - except for "move" because that just isn't an option right now. Thank you!

Community Power User
Community Power User

You aren't being hacked or anything fancy like that. It is very extremely extremely unlikely anyone is trying to access your router when there are plenty of unsecured wireless hotspots out there. Too many TV shows and movies horribly exaggerate and mislead on how hacking works and anything related to it. If you want to secure your network, ensure you have a really good, long and complex password set. Then disable WPS. It's very likely that your neighbor has absolutely nothing to do with the issues you say you are experiencing.

 

  • Redirecting to Null? That could just be an issue with the programming on the T3200m.
  • If someone was sniffing packets outside your home, those packets will be encrypted and the further you get from the home the weaker the wireless signal is. It's extremely unlikely that this isn't happening at all. They'd need to break the encryption on your wireless. Residential areas are extremely unlikely to ever see this as there isn't really any return for the effort. Malware and online scams are way more lucrative.
  • Spoofing? Like Caller ID spoofing where those scammy telemarketers call your house with a fake phone number on call display? That's totally unrelated to your modem or your internet connection. Everyone gets those calls.
  • Strange texts and emails? You'll need to provide much more information on those. They will typically be unrelated to your modem or internet connection. 
  • VPN issues? Could be on your end, could be the VPN providers end. You'll likely need to do some troubleshooting there.
  • The router settings cannot be accessed remotely. Only from a device connected to your network.
  • The police aren't going to get involved unless there is clear proof of a crime. Most cops are not tech savvy to the point of being able to identify any extreme technical issues. They would need a very specialized investigator that is very technically proficient and I doubt there are many of them.

As for the alleged harassment, document it. The more information you get, the more likely the cops will look at it. Even then there is little they will likely be able to do since he lives next door. 


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Abby1
Friendly Neighbour

Thank you for your reply. I would agree, most residences will never have to worry about anything like this - however, when you are actively targeted by someone - that's a different story. They are not hacking us to use our Wi-Fi signal.  I believe the texts and emails are an attempt to get us to click on links or reply. The spoofing I was referring to was a network device that had not even been plugged in, let alone connected to the network for months (it's actually broken) that showed up as being connected last week with the correct mac address - we had Telus confirm that this was showing as connected and compared the mac address. The redirecting to "Null" was happening when we had reset the router and were trying to disable WPS (no, we had not made other changes at that point - we do them one at a time).  I have read that "sniffers" now have antennae or some other tools that can allow them to sniff signals further away and lower strength. I have overheard them discussing programs like Reaver and there are other programs that can decrypt (I think WireShark might be one?). Our VPNs on our devices work when we are outside of the home and are stable, except within our house. We use 16 digit names and passwords that are a combination of uppercase/lowercase letter, numbers and special characters. We were changing them all weekly and have been having to factory reset the router at least once a week to solve various internet and TV issues (thus the new router). We have disabled WPS.

The harassment is not alleged and the police have dealt with all of the other pieces to it - they just won't go near the tech stuff. They have many suspicions of him, but don't think he is capable of anything technical - which I would agree with - but I guess that's what friends are for.

I realize my post may have sounded "hysterical", but that's not me.

Are you familiar with Telus devices and do you know (if someone were skilled), could they hack into your network via the broadcast Optik network?

Community Power User
Community Power User

@Abby1 wrote:

 

Are you familiar with Telus devices and do you know (if someone were skilled), could they hack into your network via the broadcast Optik network?


Optik TV is simply another IP stream. It is  less able to be hacked than other streams because it originates with Telus, and is transferred across the Telus network, not the internet at large. the likelihood of you being hacked through another person's Optik TV account is effectively zero.

NFtoBC
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Syaoran
Rockstar

The walls of text were hard for me to read fully through so I will be honest and say that I never got through most of your second post.  As someone with expertise beyond the average tech for computers and telecom/cable techs.  The only way you would be getting hacked is if the person is using a admin password set by the cable/phone provider that is outside of the range of what customers are aware of.  Do I think this is happening?  No.  The sad part about cable, DSL, and other common modems, is that they are almost never updated when they need the latest security or bug fix.  Look at what happened with Cox, TekSavvy, and other major service providers the last time they rolled out their latest update.  Smiley Tongue  

 

It sounds like you aren't correctly resetting the device for starters.  A device can't connect with the same saved settings unless you are restoring firmware to the device it is connected to, which honestly isn't helping your cause if that is the case.  The whole point of resetting is to start over.  You also need to change all of the default passwords for all of your devices.  The CBC had a good piece on MarketPlace about a month ago on how easy it is to gain control of someone's network because the consumer was essentially, lazy!  

 

The simple solution seems to be, hard reset everything!  Set everything up from scratch!  Change all default administrative and user passwords on everything first!  If you are super paranoid, limit your connects via MAC Address of the devices you actually use.  I don't know who your VPN provider is but some of them can be a little shady.  If you insist on using a VPN, then use a reputable one.  Try everything without the VPN first though and make sure everything is working properly.  Then setup your VPN from that point on and see how things are from that point. 

 

You might want to have Telus monitor your line for noise as well, as this is one of the main causes of service interruptions.  

Abby1
Friendly Neighbour

Thank you for your reply, this was very helpful. I apologize for all the text, it's a complicated issue.

 

Telus told us our old router hadn't updated since August, so that could have been part of the issues we were having. We have a new one now, so we will see if we start having all the same problems. I've had different Telus reps tell me there is something going on with my line and then others that say they can't find anything, so that is frustrating.

 

I think we are on track for doing what you are suggesting. We have the new router and have disconnected almost all of our devices from it so we can see what is going on. I haven't mentioned it before, but since you have touched on it, we have a Vivint security system with cameras, doorbells, thermostat, etc. This is where all of our problems began. Our neighbour was furious about a camera that could partially see his garage (where he likes to party and do "other" things). I have read several articles about the devices in these systems being easily hacked as you cannot change their admin settings (encryption, password protection, etc.) and the companies rely on the overall system being secure enough. The articles all said that once into one device, the hackers can "land and expand" into the rest of the network. We have disconnected it from the network and are seeking a different system - likely one that is wired or we can have access to the admin settings.

 

I have switched VPN providers as well on our devices. The new one seems to be quite a bit more stable, so you could be on track with that suggestion as well (as was another response).

 

I don't think anyone has a password over and above what we have. I do think that it is entirely possible (and apparently very easy) to use sniffing software, park in front of someone's house, collect packet data and decrypt it to find Wi Fi passphrases and then go from there. You can even buy cheap equipment on Amazon these days to jam Wi Fi (SDRs) and you can download the sniffing and decryption software easily and right to your cell phone. The thing is, most people/hackers are only interested in doing this to get free Wi Fi, whereas, the people doing this to us are interested in much more nefarious and damaging things. Smiley Sad

Abby1
Friendly Neighbour

Sorry, my question must have been unclear. I am wondering if someone can hack into our network via our own Optik TV? Our boxes are all wired, but it all runs through the router and it generates or broadcasts it's own Optik TV network (when you search for Wi Fi, it comes up as Optik TV and then a bunch of numbers, shows as locked. I confirmed with Telus the other day that this is our Optik TV).

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Syaoran
Rockstar

Anything connected to the internet can be potentially hacked.  The likelihood of that though is highly unlikely.  As much as the news and some sites would have you believe, someone hacking your home network is significantly less likely than your cell phone being hacked remotely as you shop. 

 

Personally, I use my modem as a router with the WiFi completely disabled.  I do have an Asus RT-AC68W as my main WiFi access point connected over Ethernet to the modem, and an 8 Gigabit port switch behind my TV.  Living in a high rise apartment, others WiFi connections flood my apartment and I know I can easily boost my WiFi output when I hook up my Powerlink Boost N router, which I solely bought for teaching my neighbours a lesson, as it has a 1 kilowatt radio in it and being within 6 feet of it gives me a massive headache.  Smiley Tongue  It will push back any WiFi network though with significantly stronger signal when i find that their WiFi signal is stronger than my own, which I leave on medium to not intrude on their services.  Taking the modem out of the equation though can help, because these modems are so common, that most of the admin passwords and service manuals are posted online with the credentials set by various providers.  

 

Wireless cameras are one of those things I would personally not recommend having connected to the internet.  Sure, being able to see them when you are not home is a good thing, but that basically means there is the potential others can too.  If you want to use wireless systems, use them on a router not hooked into the internet but either has a wired PC or you can access locally via wireless to view your cameras and to record from them, if needed.  This isolates your cameras from being viewed through the internet, which makes them more significantly more secure.  Interference from things, like the router I mentioned, can easily drown out a wireless connection though, which could make a wireless system useless.  Wires are always better, but also not always practical.  

 

Some of the things I suggested are a big excessive in some opinions.  If you are worried about people accessing your network and cameras, then isolating them as best as you can should help you feel better about the situation.  

Abby1
Friendly Neighbour

This is great info, thank you!

 

I am going to print your suggestions and do some research. I'm still learning about so much of this, which is why I posted on this forum - in hopes of learning from knowledgeable people like you! I appreciate all of your help. Smiley Happy

Misty
Resident
I could have written this same post. Everything you said is happening to us as well. Telus is no help whatsoever.
jag_rana
Connector
I hope you don't take this the wrong way but if the root of your problem is wifi, why not just turn it off. I realize that you probably have some devices that you want to use on it but if you truly feel it's the source of your breach...well turn it off and see if your problems go away. If they don't your issue is else where. If the problem does you have strong proof that.

That said I suspect your issues lie else where. Encryption is not easily broken, if you feel that your default/current keys are compromised reset the router (the settings to default and not just a power reset) and change the wifi keybti something new that you have not used.

adamthebad
Connector
yes most telus Routesr can be reached remotely...telus does all the time....just not easy for the average person