Strange device connected to my Wi-Fi... am I vulnerable to hacking?

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by virtualmike » Thu Sep 09, 2021 10:47 pm
Hi, All,

Full disclosure: I no longer live in an area serviced by Sonic, but I still use the Sonic hosting and domain services. There's a great braintrust on the forum, and I'm hoping to leverage it.

My current ISP's router allows me to manage it remotely, and it even sends me alerts when a new device gets connected. We're away from home, but I got an alert that an "unknown" device joined the network.

I looked up the Mac address of the device, and it's assigned to Ralink Technology Corp., who appears they make Wi-Fi chipsets for various devices.

The people whom I've given the password (there are only a couple) haven't been visiting, so I'm unsure what device could have connected.

Currently in the house are some smart TVs, some Amazon Echoes, some Google Nests, an ecobee thermostat, an iAquaLink pool controller, and a MyQ garage door opener. No computers, phones, or tablets are connected at this time.

I thought about changing the Wi-Fi password, but that would immediately disable all the devices. In particular, we need to maintain the ability to monitor the pool and thermostat.

I've "paused" the device so it currently shouldn't be able to communicate through the network. However, if someone really is trying to access, they simply can get another device.

Should I worry about vulnerabilities with the devices that are still active in the house? Should I take any other steps besides monitoring for any future unknown devices? ...thanks!
by klui » Thu Sep 09, 2021 11:40 pm
You probably forgot about a device. That's happened to me several times in the past. Most recently it was due to iOS devices that had randomized MAC addresses enabled.

Just make sure you disable WPS and have a long pass phrase.
by js9erfan » Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:09 am
Just a thought but some devices have multiple MACs so perhaps this is the case and its not actually a new device that connected.

If you have the means I'd put all those IoT devices and your guests in an untrusted vlan isolated from your trusted lan. That way if/when one of those devices gets hacked it will limit the damage. This vlan should also be blocked from accessing the router's management interface.

As mentioned above, strong passwords while avoiding WPS and weak encryption is also a must (also good to disable UPnP).
by virtualmike » Sun Sep 12, 2021 8:48 pm
Unfortunately, if the devices are on a separate WLAN, then some of them won't speak to our mobile devices. We are planning to plug in a second router and use that for guests, but just haven't had the time to do that.
by virtualmike » Sat Sep 25, 2021 10:56 pm
Finally back home, and discovered one of the Amazon Echos claimed it couldn't connect. Unpaused the device in the remote management interface, and all is well. I've heard that Amazon has upgraded Echo software, so perhaps that happened while we were gone.
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