How to Setup a Secure Wireless Network Router

Updated: 6/20/2017
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 possibly steal your data as well as Internet access. You could also become responsible for illegal downloading if your wireless Internet was compromised.

Government Spying via Compromised Wi-Fi Routers

WikiLeaks has confirmed that insecure wireless routers were hacked and users spied probably by the CIA.  If you own a router on the list, update its software immediately or buy a new one.

Federal Trade Commission Makes Asus Improve Router Security

In February 2016, the Federal Trade Commission settled charges with Asus, over critical security flaws in its routers that put the home networks of hundreds of thousands of consumers at risk.

The proposed consent order will require ASUS to establish and maintain a comprehensive security program subject to independent audits for the next 20 years.

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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”