Tips & Advice

Find out if your home network is vulnerable with Wi-Fi Inspector

Deborah Salmi, 24 February 2017

Wi-Fi Inspector automatically scans your home network for vulnerable devices and helps address any security issues with step-by-step instructions.

That little black home router with the funny antennae and shiny lights could be part of an army of devices conscripted to take down the internet. It sounds dramatic, but regular people’s internet-enabled devices – routers, webcams, printers, and so on – were used in a massive online attack that shut down a huge part of the internet for hours one Friday morning last October. With the number of connected devices estimated to reach 50 billion by 2020, you can be guaranteed that cybercriminals will attempt it again.

The attack worked because hackers took control of thousands of devices through default passwords that had not been changed. They formed all these devices into a huge, powerful botnet dubbed Mirai. Using that botnet, they launched a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack which sent massive volumes of artificial traffic to servers so that legitimate traffic cannot be served.

Take control of your own home router

In all Avast 2017 products, there is a feature called Wi-Fi Inspector that will let you take control of your own network, so you can keep your router and other smart devices from becoming part of a botnet like Mirai. If you have used Avast before, you may recognize it by the previous name 'Home Network Security'.

Wi-Fi Inspector automatically scans all the devices connected to your home network -  whether it’s wireless or cable. It scans for vulnerable devices and then notifies you if you need to address any security issues. In many cases, it will also provide step-by-step instructions. Routers present a particular security risk because if the router isn’t secure, even if you have protected your PC or Mac, those and other devices can be attacked.

Over the last few months, Avast scanned over 4.3 million routers around the world and found that 48% have some sort of security vulnerability. Our research also showed that only a quarter of Americans have ever updated their router’s firmware and only one out of seven log into their router’s administrative interface on a weekly or monthly basis to check if there is an update available.

How to use Wi-Fi Inspector to check your home network

  1. To check for network issues, open you Avast 2017 user interface.
  1. Open the Protection tab on the left side.
  1. Click Wi-Fi Inspector and click the NETWORK SCAN button to begin the scan.

Wi-Fi Inspector exposes the following vulnerabilities:

  • Weak or default passwords (for Wi-Fi and router administration)
  • Router firmware vulnerabilities (for most common vendors)
  • Non-encrypted, unsecured wireless networks
  • DNS hijacking (on devices and routers)
  • Open network ports (for remote access, Telnet, etc.) 

It’s important to note that Avast is not able to fix network issues for you. Wi-Fi Inspector does not have permission to access and modify router settings on your behalf, so all changes on the router administration page need to be made by you or your router vendor.

Please visit our Wi-Fi Inspector support page to learn more about analyzing the results of your scan.

Wi-Fi Inspector is a part of the Avast Free Antivirus and premium consumer security software products.

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