Cyber security is an important aspect of our lives especially with our ever-increasing dependency on technology. We are usually advised to keep the passwords to our email, our social media sites and other important security details regarding our technology use as safe as possible. For most of the internet generation, there is nothing as convenient as WiFi for connectivity purposes. Fast speeds and the saving of data make it an option for most. As such, many people choose to get a router. Did you know, however, that not changing the password on your router makes you as vulnerable as the individual who does not handle his passwords on other sites securely? If a hacker gets access to your router, they could gain access to your email, your social media sites and even some of your banking services such as PayPal. With consequences as severe as these, it is essential that you keep your router secure. The critical step to doing that is changing your router’s password from the one set by default from the manufacturer. We show you how to do so in the steps below.
1. Access the configuration page of your router
Each router comes with a configuration page. You can access by using a web browser on a computer you have connected to your network. In case you do not have access to your WiFi network because you forgot the password, don’t worry. You can connect directly to the network by linking your computer and router with an Ethernet cable. Once you are connected to the network, type in your router’s standard address on the browser’s address bar. The standard address for your router can be found online.
In case you cannot use the standard address to gain access, open your command prompt tab on your computer. Type ipconfig on the Command Prompt Screen Identify your active connection on the list and identify the default Gateway address. Most of the time, this is usually your router address.
2. Enter your router’s username and password
Once you get to the configuration page, you will be prompted for a username and password for the router to gain complete access. In case you have ever changed your username or password or had these changed for you, use the updated credentials to access the page. In case you have never changed them, then it is likely the username is ‘admin’. The router’s default password is typically ‘admin’ or ‘password’. However, passwords and usernames may vary depending on the model of the router. In case these login credentials do not work, look up the default username and password for your router online using its model number. Use the credentials you gain to log in to the configuration page.
3. Go to the Wireless Section of the Page
Once you have logged in, you need to identify the wireless section. Depending on the manufacturer, this section may be named ‘Wireless’ or Wireless Settings/Tab’. If this section of your page has more than one subsection, select the ‘Wireless Security’ option and open it.
4. Change the Password
Identify a box labeled as ‘Shared Key’, ‘Password’, or ‘Passphrase’. Enter your new password in the box provided. In some routers, you may be requested to repeat the new password so as to confirm that entry you have just made is the intended one. Always ensure you form a strong password so as to remain secure. Some tips for making a strong password are:
- Ensure the password is more than eight characters long
- Use a mix of both uppercase and lowercase letters in no particular order
- Include signs such as !, #, * and @ to decrease the likelihood of someone guessing your password
- Include numerals ranging from 0-9 on your password
5. Check your router’s security type
You can use three primary forms of security for your wireless encryption. These include WPA, WPA 2 and WEP. Notably, the most secure type of security there is in the market today is WPA 2. Choose WPA 2 for the best security. However, you can switch to WPA in case you need to connect to devices eight years or older. WEP is not recommended since it has very low-security levels.
6. Change your network name
In case you have never changed the name of your network, now is the time to do so. You can change your network’s name at the router’s settings as well. Routers that have default names are often targeted by hackers.
7. Save the settings
To implement these changes, go to the bottom of the page and click the ‘Apply’ or ‘Save’ button. The router will take some time to process the changes, after which you can connect to your network using the updated details.
Protect yourself by securing your router today.