Skip to main content

Leaked Files Reveal How the CIA Can Hack Your Router

* Secret hacking software lets CIA monitor traffic, collect passwords and more
* 25 router models from 10 popular manufacturers are said to be at risk
* Experts believe  CIA has been using these tools to spy on people for years

Wikileaks has published another set of leaked documents that reveal how the CIA uses secret tools to remotely hack into a person’s router. According to the leaks, once a router is hacked, the CIA can then install their own firmware, nicknamed FlyTrap, which is able to monitor and record a person’s network traffic. From there, the CIA can use specific tools to collect various passwords and even take control of a person’s microphone and camera.

Speaking to Wired last week, security researcher and Hacker House founder Matthew Hickey emphasized how the CIA has likely been using these tools to spy on people for years. “There’s no sign to tell you whether your router is hacked or not—you’re just on the internet as normal,” Hickey says. “The only thing is that everything you’re doing on the internet is going through the CIA.”

While this may come as a shock, it serves as another reminder why keeping your software updated is so important. As these vulnerabilities can only be exploited by targeting out-of-date routers, making sure your router is up to date is paramount. Unfortunately, unlike your Mac or PC, routers don’t normally require users to update their software. Therefore, it’s up to you to be vigilant in keeping your router up to date.

You can check a full list of all routers that are said to be vulnerable here.

To check for a router update, login to your router’s administrator console. Most brands provide you with an IP address to access its administrative functions. After you login, enter the administrator name and password — this can usually be found on a label on the bottom or back of your router, or in the box it came in. Next, locate the firmware upgrade section of your administrator console and download and install the new router firmware. Re-boot your router and it should be good to go.

You can read a longer explanation on how to update your router here.