How to Setup a Secure Wireless Network Router

Updated: 3/10/2019
Linksys wireless router, Linksys router, WRT54G

Security has become an ever more important part of using a personal computer. Increasingly, the daily headlines include news of companies and websites getting hacked. It is important to learn how to properly secure your wireless Internet as well as secure your personal computer.

This article focuses on how to secure your wireless network router so that you do not become part of the statistics. The wireless router typically includes a firewall that defines the perimeter of your network. Think of this as a fence, walling off your network from the Internet. Having a vulnerable wireless network allows criminals to ppossibly steal your data as well as Internet access. You could also become responsible for illegal downloading if your wireless Internet was compromised.

October 2017 Wi-Fi KRACK attack Warning

KRACK attack on Wi-Fi. Attackers can use this novel attack technique to read information that was previously assumed to be safely encrypted.  Virtually ALL Wi-Fi equipped devices need to be updated.  The attack is particularly bad on Android 6.0 and Linux. If you have a device with no updates (eg Internet of Things), you will be open to attacks.

You should not be using any non-802.11ac devices any more, if at all possible; and you should make absolutely certain you’ve updated the firmware on all routers to the latest available version.

If that newest available firmware version is older than November 2017, it is without a doubt vulnerable to KRACK, and you’re going to need to discard and replace that device. If it’s older than, say, July 2018 it might or might not include KRACK mitigations, and you should go through all of that device’s firmware release notes since November 2017 to make certain.

Government Spying via Compromised Wi-Fi Routers

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Major Wireless Network Security Breach – Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS Bug) PIN Brute Force Vulnerability – Reaver

Linksys wireless router, Linksys router, WRT54G

Updated January 2014 to cover a new TCP 32764 Wireless router Vulnerability.

A major security hole known as WiFi Protected Setup (WPS Bug) PIN brute force vulnerability (US-CERT VU#723755) has been recently found in virtually all modern Wireless Routers used in the home, resulting in a vulnerability that allows hackers to extract your WPA wireless security password in a matter of hours. Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is a protocol that allows users to press a button on their Wireless Router and connect to their computers without typing in a long cryptic password. A hole in this protocol has been recently found and exploited, allowing hackers easy access to cracking most wireless networks.

Why is this a major security problem?

  • Virtually all wireless routers have this problem
  • Many wireless routers (Qwest Actiontec, etc) use the same unchangeable PIN 12345670, hackable in seconds
  • WPS is turn on by default to get certified by Wi-Fi Alliance
  • Wireless routers do not automatically update their software to get a fix
  • The number of PIN codes to test is only 11,000 instead of 100 million
  • Attack software is available

The biggest issue is that virtually all wireless routers sold in the last 4 of years are hackable. The manufacturers need to update their firmware for these devices in order to fix the security breach. Virtually all wireless routers do not automatically update their firmware. As of January 16th, 2012, no manufacturers have issued updates, leaving millions of wireless networks vulnerable. Adding insult to injury, options to disable Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) have been found to not do anything.

Why is getting your wireless password bad?

There are many reasons why you do not want your wireless password hacked.

  • Others could use your Internet Connection Freely
  • Spam or other illegal activities could be sent
  • Everything you do on your network could be captured and read
  • Your online banking and trading would no longer be secure

Continue reading “Major Wireless Network Security Breach – Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS Bug) PIN Brute Force Vulnerability – Reaver”