Tekspecz Q&A: How do you secure your wireless router?

File-It-Under: Pondered questions!~
By: D.F.Skinner!~




For many,when setting up home networks there's always a sense of urgency to rush through the task to get Internet activity up and running as soon as possible.It is understanding that there's the need to get all of your computers in the household connected to the Internet,but often enough,many ignore the risks that are involved when using an unsecured wireless router,partly because many users,especially casual computer users either don't know where the feature is in administrator setup, or don't know how to set it up wireless security altogether.Today we'll answer the very first Q&A on this Tekspecz website, How do you secure your wireless router.

First ditch the Default Administrator Password and Username All wireless routers allow an administrator(owner of the router) to manage the WiFi's network through a administrative account.The administrative settings are accessible by typing in the routers IP address in the web browsers address bar.The account provides a complete user access to the routers configuration utilities with a special user name and password.

By default wireless router manufacturers set the account username as "admin" and password as "password" making it easy for you to access your settings.The problem with that is it's even easier for hackers to access the routers settings,basically you'er giving hackers full access to your router.To remedy this problem what you want to delete the default admin username and reset it to any name that you are comfortable with,it can be your name or a weird nickname.Now with the password,like any accounts on the that require a password when dealing with the Internet,make a password that includes a name an special characters,its a known fact that including characters along with name or phrase makes it harder for hackers to figure out your password.Doing these tasks is a first major step in improving your wireless network security,but we still have a couple of more tasks complete to really ensure a full lock down of your wireless network.

Tales from the Encrypt Practically all WiFi devices support some form of encryption,in particular wireless routers.What encrypted technology basically does is scrambles any type of data that's sent over the wireless networks so that your data is unreadable.There are several WiFi encryption technologies that exist today,but today we'll look at the most popular form of encryption,one is the WEP( Wired Equivalent Privacy) which is a older and less secured technology and then there's the more secured WPA (WiFi Protected Access) encryption technology.In your routers settings you have the option of the two, but first let us look at WEP.The WEP encryption is easier to setup for first timers,the problem is the technology behind WEP is very old and has a weaker security encryption.Many techies like myself steer far away from this type of encryption setup.Hackers today have very sophisticated tools that can easily penetrate WEP encryption,so we will pass up on WEP encryption.

Let us take a look at WPA encryption,which is a security technology for WiFi networks that has a much improved authentication and encryption features than WEP.The WPA technology has two key standard technologies: the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol(TKIP) and Advance Encryption Standard (AES).With this type of standardized technologies,it is much easier use on your home networks,yet has stable security.

The Setup Setting up a encrypted wireless environment in your home network is pretty easy,probably the hard part is looking for the feature in your administrator setup.First off,lets pull up your web browser,once you pull up your browser type in your routers IP address in the address bar.Lets assume that you are on a Linksys wireless router,the IP address is 192.168.1.1 for NetGear the IP address is 192.168.0.1,but for now lets stick with Linksys router.

Right after typing in your IP address you will be taken to your setup page,assuming that now you have a username and set password all in place,go ahead and type it in, all done? Once you are in your routers setup page,on the tab bar click "Wireless",then click on the "Wireless Security"tab,don't be tempted to click where it says "security" most often that is a mistake of many users,including myself.

Once you are in the Wireless Security page you may begin locking down your wireless router,where it say security mode you have many choices of  encryption keys,since we are staying away from WEP key,let's focus on WPA Personal because using this feature is more user friendly for first timers, after you've done that,see where it say WPA Algorithms,choose TKP, now we are entering pinnacle part of this section,move down to WPA Shared Key and type in a strong complex password with at least 8 characters,try very hard not to use normal names that hackers can look up in the dictionary,use a combination lower,upper case characters and numbers,once your done leave the Group Key Renewal at 3600 seconds,click save settings,now you are all done.

Now you are all secure,every time someone see's your network they will see locked character by your name,no one will piggy back off of your network unless there are some genius hacker name Neo.Make sure you don't lose your password or else you will not gain entry to your wireless network,store your password in a safe place somewhere.In case you just so happen to forget or lose your password,there is a feature in your administrator setup that allows you to reset the wireless router to it's factory settings.