Virgin urges 800,000 customers to change passwords over hacking risk

Virgin has urged 800,000 of its customers to change their passwords to protect against a vulnerability that leaves its Super Hub 2 routers vulnerable to hackers. 

The router is the one piece of most people's tech setup that they're happy to just use the default password with; it’s inadvisable but usually not that dangerous. Not so with the Super Hub 2. 

An investigation by Which? Has revealed that there is a vulnerability in the Super Hub 2 that means hackers could gain access to smart home devices that are connected to the router, including children's toys, and security cameras. 

The idea of someone being able to take over control of the cameras in your home is unsettling both in terms of people being able to watch you in your home, but also in terms of knowing for certain when you aren’t home.

What can I do?

A spokesperson from Virgin has said: “The security of our network and of our customers is of paramount importance to us. We regularly support our customers through advice and updates and offer them the chance to upgrade to a Hub 3.0 which contains additional security provisions.”

It isn’t only the Super Hub 2 that has this vulnerability. In the study eight out of the fifteen devices tested had security flaws. Luckily, changing the password on your router is a relatively simple process. 

For the Super Hub 2, you simply plug your router into a computer using an ethernet cable, open a web browser and go to the URL on your Super Hub sticker. Open up Wireless Network Settings and enter your new password. Click Save Settings and you’re good to go.

You will need to re-connect any device that uses wi-fi by entering your new password.

As we enter an age where more and more of us have smart home products connected to our wireless routers, including smart speakers, thermostats, and security systems, it is vitally important that the router - the thing connecting all of them - is secure. 

Which? Managing director of home products and services Alex Neill said: “There is no denying the huge benefits that smart-home gadgets and devices bring to our daily lives. However, as our investigation clearly shows, consumers should be aware that some of these appliances are vulnerable and offer little or no security.”

“There are a number of steps people can take to better protect their home, but hackers are growing increasingly more sophisticated. Manufacturers need to ensure that any smart product sold is secure by design."


Andrew London

Andrew London is a writer at Velocity Partners. Prior to Velocity Partners, he was a staff writer at Future plc.