Router Security Question:

You said my router wasn’t secure, what do you mean and how can I fix it?Laptop

No matter how tight you keep your computer usage, if you have a wireless router for your computer you might be using more internet downloads than you think you are .

Every time I go to a clients house to work on their computers, I always take note of any network they might have to share their internet connection with other computers they own. If they have bought, or been given a wireless router by their provider, there is ever chance their neighbour, or even a stranger out in the street could be using their internet connection.

I should point out that is is not only wireless routers that should be made more secure, a normal router, or even ADSL or cable modem should be made more secure by following some of these steps.

1. Change the default password.

Every broadband modem and router has a default password that you have to use to be able to get into the box to change the settings to suit your account. To make it easier for the customer service from the company that made the device they are set up with a default password. Unfortunately it also makes it easier for other people to change your settings as well.

websites like routerpasswords.com store username, passwords and other details about every device manufactured in the world. While it does make it easier for a computer repair person such as my self to make sure you are as safe as possible, it also makes it easier for other people to do things they shouldn’t do.

I always recommend you change your devices default password as soon as you can. Make it a combination of letters and numbers and make it as long as possible, but something you don’t have to write down to remember.

2. Turn off UPnP (Universal Plug and Play).

While this feature does make life a little easier for you if you are doing a lot of extra things on the internet, it can lead to a few major problems in the future.

UPnP allows any programme on your computer to open a hole in your router that will allow any information through that certain hole. If for example you have a malicious piece of software on you computer, like a virus, and it wants to receive extra information to allow it to spread, it will tell the router to let any information at all through a hole it chooses if UPnP is turned on. If however it is turned off, it will not beable to open that hole at all.

3. Turn on an encryption system.

Unless you trust your neighbours with the keys to your house as well as any one who walks past during the day or night, you will want to turn on some kind of encryption if you have a wireless router.

Encryption, either WPA or WEP, will make it harder for someone to gain access to your network. Before they can connect they will have to either know or work out what the encryption password is.

WEP is an older technology that uses a fixed number of Hexadecimal numbers 0-9 and A-F to make a password. These days it is relatively easy to crack the password using certain programmes.

WPA is a slightly better encryption technology that uses a pass phrase. It can be up to 63 characters long, including punctuation and spaces. While it is extremely more secure due to the larger number of possible characters as well as the over length, it to can be cracked given enough time.

4. Use MAC address filtering.

This is the belt and suspenders security option.

A MAC address is an individual finger print given to every device in the world that can be connected to a network. There are no 2 MAC addresses that are the same (in theory). You can tell you router which MAC addresses to let on the network. If someone were to attach a device with a different MAC address to any of the ones you have put into i, those devices would be able to go on the network.

While MAC address filtering is the most extreme measure you can take, it can be fooled by making a device show a wrong MAC address. This is known as MAC spoofing.

4 options to help make your broadband connection, and your ability to share it with your other computers, safer than it is straight out of the box. While each one is a good security measure, all 4 will turn your normal broadband router or modem, into a secure firewall to keep you a lot safer from hackers or people wnating to use your internet connection.

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