Back Door Access To Computer Through Router?

Discussion in 'hardware' started by Kathleen Rose, Oct 29, 2019.

  1. Kathleen Rose

    Kathleen Rose Registered Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2019
    Posts:
    2
    Location:
    Maryland
    I have a Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Cable Modem Router. Is it possible for someone who is very computer and network savvy to gain access to the information on my MacBook Pro just by knowing the MAC address of the router?

    Background: I have a family member who is a Microsoft expert and works IT for the military, specifically a help desk where he assists with computer issues remotely all over the country. He always seems to know way more about my personal financial information than he should. I have had financial information disappear from my hard drive and often have difficulty navigating around my computer. By that I mean that programs will often resist shutting down, my cursor will become difficult to control, or the computer will resist shutting down altogether. It’s as if the computer is being taken over. It’s obvious to me that I am not the only person using it at certain times. I live alone and there is only one computer on my network. I have checked the running processes but nothing appears off. I have investigated every application that shows up in the list. How is he accessing my data?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2019
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Posts:
    3,591
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    They would need to know a lot more than the MAC address of the router.

    I would never say it is impossible, but it would be very difficult for anyone, regardless their level of expertise, to hack your Netgear device.

    But let's assume they did get into your network. Then what? That in no way means they could then hack past your computer's defenses, including its firewall, access your information, then send that information back to them. Such a level of attack typically would be from a real expert who knows you personally and is specifically targeting you. Or it would be from someone who already has local access to your network via an Ethernet cable or they already have wireless access to your network.

    No doubt you would know if someone has connected an Ethernet cable to your network. As for wireless, enter your router's admin menu and "View Devices Currently on the Network" (see page 84 of your manual). You should be able to identify every device. Note these may also include smart TVs, cell phones and other devices.

    If you are still concerned, I recommend you visit the Netgear Download Center and make sure you have the latest firmware installed. Then enter the device's admin menu and change it's password and change the passphrase for your wireless access too. Make sure these are not something anyone who knows you could guess. That is, don't use your house address, dog's name, birthdates, etc.

    This will mean for your wireless devices, you will have to log in again with the new wireless passphrase.

    Make sure your MacBook and other computers and devices are all fully updated too.

    It is important to realize that by far, the easiest way bad guys gain access to our computers is by us letting them in through social engineered methods. A common method is them sending us (and 100,000 other people) an email that looks like it came from our bank, the IRS, Social Security, or a credit card company, offering us a deal or reporting some problem. It then asks us to click a link and/or provide some personal information. Don't do it. Don't even open the email. Just delete it. If truly important, they will send you letter in the regular mail.

    By far, most bad guys are lazy opportunists. If cannot easily get into your system, they quickly move on to easier pickings.

    And another thing about MAC addresses. While these are supposed to be totally unique to every network devices across the globe, it is easy to clone or "spoof" the MAC address of another device. In fact, some ISPs restrict access to a single device and when that happens, the router needs to be configured to use that device's MAC address, thus allowing all computers in your home to "appear" as using that MAC address. So even your Netgear provides the capability to clone or spoof MAC addresses and it talks about that on page 106 of your manual. So my point being this goes back to your original question - and a bad guy would have to know a lot more than the MAC address of your router to gain access to your network, and then gain access to your computer.
     
  3. Kathleen Rose

    Kathleen Rose Registered Member

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    Oct 29, 2019
    Posts:
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    Location:
    Maryland
    All this information is tremendously helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. You are so knowledgeable!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2019
  4. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
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    3,591
    Location:
    Nebraska, USA
    Thanks, glad I could help.
     
  5. Stefan Froberg

    Stefan Froberg Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2014
    Posts:
    742
    If I were bad hacker, the MAC address of your router would be pretty useless for me.

    The only reason I would wan't to know it is if I were your neightbour, you had Wifi enabled in your router and also MAC filtering enabled to restrict access.

    Then I could filter the wireless traffic (a la aircrack-ng for example) to see what client devices (their MAC address)
    you have allowed to connect to your router and then bypass your MAC filtering by spoofing my device MAC to one of your client devices MAC address.
    Of course I would still need to know your password ....

    Instead of MAC, you should be more worry if your router has UPnP on or WPS on (a la PixieDust) or even remote access from WAN side on(!)

    And always update your router firmware if possible, there are some really nasty exploits out there ...

    Code:
    https://www.exploit-db.com/exploits/41205
    Code:
    https://www.exploit-db.com/search?q=NETGEAR
     
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