- 1 Minute Read -

When you buy a wireless router it is not secure, and its default configuration will allow unwanted users that are in the vicinity of your router to connect your router and "steal" your wireless internet connection. They could also gain access to your PC's files and folders of data.

Manufacturers leave the configuration "open" so that the user can easily set up the router and get it up and running quickly. However, there is a risk if the router is not secure.

1) Change Admin password. Most wireless routers ship with a blank password. It is essential that this is changed or else a potential hacker could get into your router configuration and lock you out of your own hardware.

2) Change The Network Name (SSID). The default network name is usually made up of the name/model of your wireless router. This information gives a head start for a hacker and makes it easier for them to break into your network. Don't rename it to something like your surname or house name as this unnecessarily exposes personal information. Rename it to an alpha-numeric string - this can be up to 32 characters long.

3) Turn off SSID broadcasting. By default, a wireless router's SSID is broadcast so anyone in the vicinity of your wireless router can see that it. SSID broadcasting can be turned off thus making your wireless router virtually invisible.

4) Enabling Encryption. This is switched off by default. There is a choice of WEP, WPA and WPA2. Currently the latest encryption method is WPA2, so use this where possible. Both your wireless router and wireless PC adapter must be configured to use the same encryption.

5) Mac Address Control. All hardware has a unique MAC address associated with it, including your PC's adapter card. This MAC address can be added to access control list in the wireless router. Only devices added to the router's access control list are allowed to be connected.

6) Update router firmware. It is recommended that the latest router firmware is downloaded from the manufacturer's website and installed in the router. This will hopefully fix any bugs that have been found for your router and also help with any known security flaws in the router itself.

7) Backup settings. Finally, backup all router settings. If you reset the router back to its factory default settings for whatever reason, your configuration can later be easily and quickly restored back into the router.

Colin Receveur
SmartBox, LLC


Written by rcarroll