Is Your Router Easy to Hack? Learn How to Properly Secure Your Router.

IS YOUR ROUTER EASY TO HACK_Header

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give your home WiFi router another thought after checking to make sure it has Internet connection. But did you know that your home WiFi router is a crucial component to your overall security?

While a WiFi router means no more hassling with messy Ethernet cables, you could unknowingly be putting your data at risk of being intercepted if you don’t properly secure it.

When was the last time you checked which WiFi encryption you’re using? Perhaps you’ve been using Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) all this time without even knowing! Using WEP as your WiFi encryption is equivalent to using no encryption at all, as this flawed encryption standard can be hacked in a matter of minutes. To better protect your network, you should upgrade to WPA2, a newer and more robust WiFi network security standard. We’ll show you how to check which WiFi encryption you’re currently using and how to upgrade to WPA2.

First, what’s wrong with WEP?
Wired Equivalent Privacy or WEP was introduced in 1999 to provide a WiFi network with security comparable to that of a wired network.

WEP was widely used for years, but before long, it became clear that WEP security was about as strong as a wet paper towel. For example, in 2005, the FBI publicly demonstrated how it could crack WEP passwords within minutes. Once passwords are cracked, a hacker can do just about whatever he wants on your network or to your computer— including stealing your bank account information.

Though WEP was retired as a WiFi network standard in 2004, it’s still in use today, particularly by those with older computers and pre-2005 wireless network routers.

Bottom line: If you haven’t upgraded to WPA2, you should consider doing so right away.

How to check which WiFi encryption you’re using
If you’re on Windows 7, follow these steps:

1. In the bottom right of your system tray, look for the wireless network icon. Left-click on the icon and you’ll get a popup menu of available wireless networks.
system tray WiFi icon

2. Hover the cursor over your home network name, and you’ll see which WiFi encryption you’re using.
system tray WiFi icon expanded

If you’re on Windows 8, follow these steps:
1. In the bottom right of your system tray, look for the wireless network icon. Right-click on the icon and select ‘Open Network and Sharing Center’.
Windows 8 Open Network and Sharing Center

2. Click on the network name
Network name

3. Click on ‘Wireless Properties’
Wireless properties

4. Click the ‘Security’ tab. From there you can check which WiFi encryption you’re using.
Security type

If your home WiFi network is determined to be encrypted with WPA2, ensure the password to your network is secured with a strong password, and that your computers all have at the minimum, an antivirus and two-way firewall.

Now, if you’ve determined that you’re using WEP, you should immediately upgrade to the stronger WPA2 encryption.

How to upgrade from WEP to WPA2
Start by checking to see if your wireless router supports WPA2. If you’re not sure, do a Google search on your wireless router’s name and add the word “specs” or “specifications” to the search phrase.

If your router doesn’t support WPA2 (or at the very least, WPA), consider investing in a new wireless router. Like most consumer electronics, WiFi routers have become increasingly more powerful and less expensive. Additionally, WiFi speeds continue to evolve, so if you have a new computer, a new router may make the difference in your Internet connection speeds ( as well as your security. )

If your router does support WPA2, here’s how to upgrade from WEP to WPA2. The instructions below are for Cisco Linksys routers, so steps may differ depending on the manufacturer of your router.

1. Open your Web browser and type in your router’s IP address in the URL bar (the default IP address is usually 192.168.1.1).
192 in address bar

If you don’t know what your IP address is, click ‘Start,’ then ‘Run,’ then type ‘CMD’ (without the quotation marks) and press ‘Enter.’
Start_Run

When a new window opens, type “ipconfig” and press enter. This will reveal your router’s IP address under ‘Default Gateway’.
ipconfig_default gateway

2. Next, enter your router user name and password when prompted. If you have never created a username and password before, try “admin” as the user name and leave the password field blank. If that does not work, contact your provider or you can refer to this site to determine the default username and password. And if all else fails, purchasing a new router and starting from scratch may be a solution.
authentication required

3. Once you’ve accessed the router setup dashboard, click on the ‘Wireless’ tab and then choose “Wireless Security.”

4. From there, click the drop-down menu for “Security Mode” and select “WPA2 Personal” and select “AES” for “WPA Algorithm”. (Note: Consider changing the password (WPA Shared key) to your router if you’ve been using a weak password.)
security mode

5. While you’re still logged into the router setup dashboard, this would be a good opportunity to change the default username and router password. The router password is what allows an administrator access to the router dashboard itself. Click on the “Administration” tab then click on “Management”. From there, create and confirm your new password. We recommend that you use a different password for the WPA shared key and the router password.

6. Save your settings. Please note that other devices connected to this router will require that you enter in the new password.

It’s definitely worth it
Ultimately, if you’re still using WEP security, you’re needlessly making yourself vulnerable to hackers. We think spending a little time (and if necessary, money) to switch to WPA2 security is well worth it!

31 thoughts on “Is Your Router Easy to Hack? Learn How to Properly Secure Your Router.

  1. You’re missing a lot in this treasure trove option based environment! If you could hack my system I’d be up for the challenge. Sit outside my home and try to gain access to my WI-Fi. I do things a bit differently around here, you wont beat this simply because my router will not allow! Try to suck off my Wi-Fi, lets see how that works out for ya…. I’m cocky because I’m confident! Just to help ya out here, I don’t use encryption, so take that notion right out of your mind.

    Should be easy to hack me, right?

    • Hi M,
      Many people probably aren’t aware that their wireless router is crucial to their overall security. This blog was meant to let users know they should secure their router with the highest available encryption, WPA2.

      You mention you don’t use encryption. Would you like to inform our users about how you secure your router or PC at home while on wireless without encryption? I think educating users on different ways to securing their router would be beneficial. Thanks!

    • Well sure, I mean if you set up MAC authentication you don’t really need to encrypt for a connection. However, if your traffic is not encrypted it should be easy for somebody to just sniff out the packet data and see what is inside. Not good if you do online shopping. Not always to hackers need two way communication to get what they want.

      • There are troubleshooting tools that allow a device to use whatever MAC address the user wishes to use — MAC authentication is useful, but I wouldn’t use it as your sole protection against hacking.

      • I really want to see the original poster reply. Anyone care to bet as to weather or not they will? I surprised they didn’t say they dont broadcast there SSID and say that’s enough…

        • lol He’s got his mac’s locked down?! LMAO!!! Hey OP, why don’t you throw your physical address out for those who want to take you up on your challenge? Damn Skiddies.

      • The Wikipedia article is incorrect in the MAC spoofing in the second sentence. Many NIC cards and especially the ones for embedded NIC controllers in PCs running Windows can have their MAC address altered.

    • The original poster invites us to try and hack his router, but conveniently remains anonymous. If you don’t provide your location, your challenge is nothing but hot air and should be ignored… Any of us could safely make the same challenge and not worry about being hacked (because nobody knows who or where we are).

  2. I keep getting pop-up messages from “lpmxp2110.com”. It keeps wanting to “update my video player”. Zone Alarm doesn’t seem to get rid of this, but it is a nuisance, and places on the Internet say it can lead to malware. How do I get rid of this?

    • Where are you seeing this fake video update popup? We recommend you to stop visiting the site that is giving you this pop up.

    • He isn’t visiting the lpmxp2110.com site because it isn’t in DNS any more. What they have at a minimum is a browser cache problem or maybe even a malware infection. A visiti to one of the many web-sites that specialize in helping others remove malware is in order.

    • Very little between Personal and Enterprise but you have to get the correct one for you NIC card to work with the rounter. WPA2 is a newer and safer standart IF you can use it. Actually, most computers have WPA2 and not WPA so it isn’t worth worrying about it. Any of these WPA encryption will give you something that is hard to break.

  3. One very important issue: Re name your router and set alternative password. I suggest that password in WPA be a favorite verse or ditty using underscores and dash with o i and e changed to zero, one and three’s. I also vary password extensively via RoboForm which is quite useful and cheap subscription allowing uploading of password to a sync account with one master password thus allowing access anywhere. Cheers enjoy your day and stay safe on the net:)

  4. Well MAC authentication and WPA2 or newer encryption and monster long and non-relating to your person or household passwords can help out alot when setting up ones own home network security.

    • You use “ipconfig” to determine what your router IP address is. To get to the login screen of your router dashboard, you enter in the IP address in the URL address bar then press enter.

  5. Many valid comments except for that of “Me on August 13, 2014 at 7:39 pm ” a cocky arrogant remark for which I really do not see the point. Clearly we all should use the best encryption as stealing information does not require hacking into the router and broadcasting unencrypted data is like shouting secrets from the top of a tall building
    Ideally one should use ALL the options to secure the wireless router, use wired connections in as much as possible and ideally shut down the wireless when not really needed.
    Ok, that is more work and less “convenient ” but then so is security at the airport and it does not make it less essential

  6. Using MAC filtering IS NOT security. It can be spoofed quite easily. There are programs out there that allows one to change the MAC address of their network card. Hiding the SSID is also not recommended. Since the clients sends out the SSID in the open, someone with a protocol analyzer can see the packets which contains the SSID. Using WPA2 with a strong password is the best bet as well as changing the defaults to something less obvious.

  7. Shifting from no encryption or WEP to either WPA or WPA2 is a good start. Add to that (in order as they come to mind but 3 is probably most important):

    1. Changing your routers name to something non-standard. Use letters and numbers only or just letters if it doesn’t allow numbers.

    2. Entering all of the MAC addresses into the allowed table if it has them.

    3. Setting the passwords to control and view it and if you have a wired connection allow that one to be the only one to administer the device.

    4. Turn off your SSID broadcasting. Turn it on temporarily when making a new connection with a new device, but turn it back off once the connection is made. Remember to put the device’s MAC address into the MAC permit table if you use that.

    Me? The lesson of Enigma is NOT lost on me. After I did all of the previous including my wired MAC addresses I turned WIFI off on both routers. I don’t have any wireless devices and if you don’t either, why have WIFI on?

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  12. okay I will tell you I don’t know what I’m doing. I am running a wireless router Belkin N300 256 bit wpa/wpa2 encryption/64/128 wep encryption. I have broadband dsl that I have the wireless router hooked up to. When I try to look at my settings using windows 8 directions it shows my Belkin.xxx as a public network and my connections as joined ethernet on my home PC. I am running a laptop as well it just shows ethernet as my connection. How do I know if my network is safe?

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  16. I’m using Windows7 with a mobile Wifi router and for the time being it’s more convenient. I bought it from a telco’s store and it’s prepaid which for me is great. I can connect up for however long I want but I’m really serious about security and have visited numerous websites to check how to secure everything. I use a 16 digit random password (from an online generator: I made about 20 different ones for random using) for the router, use WPA2-Personal and have found that my router supports using the “Deny” MAC Address command so I did some digging and found a great little tool called inSSIDer for Home. It shows you who is on your local neighbourhood wifi lan and gives their MacAddress as well as other stuff and it’s free for personal use. I just type the suspect MacAddresses into my Deny command and found that was an added layer of security. Then the buggers got me through an unsecured link to my webcam (which I never use) so I simply disabled the webcam and updated all Windows7 stuff from the Windows Update and voila!… just thought this might help someone else to know that you can secure MacAddresses but by denying access to certain ones and be very vigilant in knowing where your problems can come from..I won’t be so lax in future.

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