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Let's say someone already knows my Verizon FiOS router password and has previously hacked me and maybe my computers at home. If I change my router password, couldn't they see me doing it and know what I'm typing in, thus being able to continually hack me?

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    It really depends on whether they managed to change (a.k.a infect) the software running on the router and the computer used to change it or now. – billc.cn Oct 7 '16 at 15:35
  • if you reset to factory defaults and connect to it with a wired connection on a computer that you know is clean you will be able to reset the password without the password being compromised. – CaffeineAddiction Oct 19 '16 at 20:58
  • @CaffeineAddiction If I do that, in the process of connecting my clean PC to the reset router, I fear I'd contract malware from the router to my clean PC. We've talked about the topic of malware that survives a router reset in the forums here before. Some types of malware can modify the firmware in the router making a factory reset insufficient to fix the problem. I'm scared that might be the case for me and am scared to even connect a clean PC to the router. – atrueidiot Oct 20 '16 at 0:06
  • @atrueidiot thats just it, you shouldn't have to connect your PC to the router to do a factory reset ... there should be a physical button on the router itself ... press it in and count to 30 then reboot. – CaffeineAddiction Oct 20 '16 at 5:31
  • @CaffeineAddiction Sorry, I didn't mean resetting the router, but changing the passwords to it after resetting the router, Caffeine. After a factory reset, the router goes back to default settings with default passwords that are advised to be changed. To change them, I'd have to hook up my device to the router. And as talked about in other threads, there are types of malware that can survive a reset (the type that changes the router firmware). :( – atrueidiot Oct 21 '16 at 12:15
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If the attacker has managed to either (a) modify the software running on the router, or (b) infect the computer used to change the password, then yes, the attacker will be able to steal the new password you set.

If you suspect that both the router and the computer has been hacked, I would recommend the following:

  1. Disconnect both the router and computer from the internet and each other.
  2. Do a factory reset on the router and do a complete wipe and reinstall of the OS on the computer.
  3. Connect the computer and router and reconfigure the router.
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If your PC is infected with a key logger that sends information to the hacker, then yes he can see your password changes. A key logger can not only send what you typed in, but also screen shots.

You can use a PC that you know that it is not compromised by that hacker to change the password on the router.

Edit: based on your comments below I would do the following:

  1. Download the newest Firmware of your router from the official website of the router. Ask your internet service provider if you don't find it. You will need this software later on.
  2. Clean install your PC without being connected to the internet
  3. If you are on Windows or on Mac, install an antivirus program before connecting to the internet. (This means you should have the software ready on a memory stick.)
  4. Unplug your router from the internet.
  5. Factory reset your router with the reset button.
  6. Before connecting again to the internet: Install the new Firmware downloaded (point 1 above) and then change the default password of your router.
  7. Tell your sister (I suppose she is very young and hope nobody will be offended now) she should NEVER insert her password into a website that does not belong to that password. For example never insert your Facebook password in a website where the address bar shows a third party address. Always check in the address bar if the URL is correct. A small "spell mistake" is an indication that you are being hacked. (This is a very common hacking method. I still believe that her spam has nothing in common with your slow internet.)
  8. Observe your home network and PCs for the next couple of days or weeks.

I hope it helps. Let me know if you need further help or clarifications.

  • Would it be possible that the hacker "controls" my PC AND router and therefore any new device on my router (a "clean" pc) that tries to change the router password would be IMMEDIATELY hacked by the hacker too and the password change attempt thwarted? – atrueidiot Oct 7 '16 at 19:06
  • Theoretically yes. I think, the hacker would need to have installed a piece of software in your network that alarms him if any new device is plugged in and he is waiting for this event at his PC. The best way to be almost 100% sure would be to unplug the router from the internet and clean reinstall router and PC. – RichArt Oct 9 '16 at 20:23
  • Hi, RichArt Thank you for the response. I just had a quick follow-up question for you. When you say to "unplug the router from the internet," how do you do that? I was under the impression that routers were automatically connected to the internet upon being turned on. Is that not true? If you can be disconnected, how would that be done? Thanks very much for helping me! – atrueidiot Oct 15 '16 at 11:44
  • Based on your question I am not sure anymore that we are talking about the same thing when talking about routers. But if by router you mean the same [thing] (google.ch/…) like me, then you can just unplug the cable that connects the router to the internet. If you don't have a back-up channel to the internet (like for example a cellular network or a second cable internet connection), then there is no way for the attacker to know what's going on in your network. – RichArt Oct 15 '16 at 12:08
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    OK, I started to read. I hope you do not take that personally, but it's too long. But what I got from what I read so far, is that your internet speed slowed down considerably and your browser has some strange behavior (stuff at the bottom left corner). But still, why do you think that your router is compromised? I mean, it could be, that your compromised PC is causing a huge traffic load. That would explain why the other computers are also slow. The spam on your sisters account could be independent (another attac) because it is much more common. – RichArt Oct 17 '16 at 23:43

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