Book Review: Heads You Win

Where is my wireless network?

This morning I open my computer to find it unable to "join any network".   I checked my Linksys wireless router and saw that it was On and the three lights were glowing as it should.  My Hathway cable internet modem had its green lights on as well.

I switched wireless off and on with no change.  I deleted my router configuration and re-entered the details.  No difference.  For good measure, I restarted my computer.  Still no good.

"Hmm! must be a problem with my computer", I thought.  It was working yesterday.  Nothing had changed since then.  I decided to switch on the wireless of my phone.  Strange!  it failed to connect to the router as well.

This was indeed puzzling.  Then I noticed something even more interesting.  Among the couple of other networks that showed up (neighbouring apartments), I saw one "linksys" which was unprotected (no lock sign)!   No, that could not be.   For one, my network ssid was different.  On top of that, it was protected.  Also, it did not broadcast.  But the signal strength was excellent.

I connected to it and visited the router web interface.  The password that I had set for my router did not work.  "By God!  my router has been hacked!" was my first reaction.  Of all the people, neighbours in my own apartment!

I tried the "default" router password and it logged me in.  Surely a hacker wouldn't do that, would he?

Then I see that the router pretty much had all the default settings - SSID broadcast, no security, default network name...  Looked like the router had "reset" itself or switched to Factory default.

Since none of us had pressed the Reset button, the only theory I have is, one of the power outages would have caused it to do this.  This theory is not confirmed, but in case any of the readers see a similar behavior, it will lend credibilty to it.

I have now "backed up" the router configuration after reapplying all the security settings, in order to quickly restore it.  Let us see if this happens again.