Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Securing your router

Time's tight tonight, so I will list the settings you should change to make your wireless router more secure. Tomorrow I will cover specifically how to change those settings on a common Linksys router, the WRT54GS2. If I have time I'll also look at a Belkin router. Thursday I will look at Belkin if I don't have time Wednesday, and last we will look at a DLink router. Generally once you know how to change the settings on one model router you can figure out how to change the settings on other models by the same company. Linksys, Belkin and DLink are the most common consumer routers, so those should help most people get set up.

The steps are really pretty simple:


  1. Change the user name and/or password. Not all routers allow you to change both. There are lists of default usernames and passwords for most routers and most other electronic devices available online.

  2. Set the encryption to the strongest you can. If you have older devices that only support WEP use it. It's not much, but it will discourage people looking for open wifi. If at all possible use WPA2.

  3. Change the default SSID. Make it anything you want, just don't leave it as the default. There are lists of default SSID's.

  4. Change the default IP address. All routers use IPv4, although the new standard IPv6 is supported by a few. Most devices don't support IPv6 yet, so we only need to worry about IPv4 addresses.

Here are the private IP ranges for IPv4:

10.0.0.0 to 10.255.255.255

172.16.0.0 to 172.31.255.255

192.168.0.0 to 192.168.255.255