You are subject to risk if you're using wireless LAN. Securing a wireless connection is very important to protect personal or corporate information. Below I’ll describe how to secure the Linksys wireless broadband router WRT54G. The device is not secured by default. Most people use the router with the default configuration, which allows hackers to access their internet broadband. And that's not even the worst thing. The biggest danger is that hackers can have access to the personal or corporate data stored in your computer.
Please follow the below instructions to protect your device:
- Connect your computer to the router using a network cable, or you can connect to the router through a wireless connection. Note that your wireless card in your computer must be enabled.
- Open your Web browser. Enter: http://192.168.1.1 in the address field. This is an internal IP address to access your router. Press the Enter Key.
- When the password request appears leave the user name field blank. By default, the password is admin.
- After logging in, you are not required to change the default administrative password. However, it’s fully recommended that you change the default password by clicking on the Administration tab and Management. Enter a new password in the Password field and again in the Re-enter field to confirm.
- I recommend setting the Remote Management item as Disable. It will be another layer of security for your router. With this configuration you can only access your router for programming using a standard Ethernet network cabling.
- To save the new password, click Save Settings at the bottom of the page.
- To avoid intruders accessing your wireless connection we’ll start to work with the Wireless tab.
- In the Basic Wireless Settings enter a name for your wireless network connection in the Wireless Network Name (SSID). Set the Wireless Broadcast to Disable.
When wireless clients survey the local area for wireless networks to associate with, they will detect the SSID broadcast by the Router if the Broadcast is enabled. Do not broadcast the Router SSID. It must be Disabled.
Note that your SSID should be set following similar rules for setting a password, e.g. at least 8 characters, a combination of letters, numbers and non consecutive characters.
Disabling the SSID broadcast is not a strong security setting, but it can help prevent intruders from sharing your WLAN. Remember to save your settings.
- Enable network authentication and encryption. Listed in order strongest to weakest:
WPA2-PSK (data encryption TKIP or AES)
WPA-PSK (data encryption TKIP or AES)
WEP (256 Bit) - Weak, but better than no encryption
WEP (128 Bit) - Weaker, but better than no encryption
WEP (64 Bit) - Weakest, but better than no encryption
WEP – Wireless Equivalent Privacy
WEP is an encryption method used by WLAN devices to encrypt data sent over the air. It is configurable in at least one of three ways on all WLAN devices. Either No WEP, 40/64 bit WEP, or 128 bit WEP.
There are well-known hacking methods to defeat WEP. The only difference between 40/64 or 128bit is the time it takes a hacker to defeat it. Today, 40/64 and 128 bit WEP may be quickly and easily defeated. WPA and WPA2 are much more secure alternatives to WEP. That said, WEP provides a greater level of security than not using WEP.
If you want, the system will create the WEP keys for you. Just click on Generate and the 4 keys will appear. Take note of the one that you will add in your wireless device.
Use a lengthy, unique encryption key that is non-obvious and rotate it frequently.
Consider using a random key generator, such as this one http://darkvoice.dyndns.org/wlankeygen, to generate the key.
- WPA – Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) or WPA2
WPA and the subsequent WPA2 are encryption methods used by WLAN devices to encrypt data sent over the air. Most home users will use WPA and WPA2 with a pre-shared key (PSK). For the home user, it is recommended enabling WPA2 or WPA.
- Now you have to go to your wireless device in your notebook and/or desktop and make sure the wireless configuration matches the router configuration. The wireless configuration may be different depending on your device manufacturer and operational system.
- Click Save Settings to save your settings.
- I recommend that you back up your settings in case you need to reset the router back to it’s factory default settings:
(Click on Administration tab and Config Management. Click on Backup and select a file to save your settings.)
- If for some reason you are not using the wireless network in your router, I recommend that you disable the wireless
signal: (Go to Wireless tab and in the Basic Wireless Setting. Change the Wireless Network Mode to Disable.) You can go back to the same page later and Enable the wireless network. You will not lose your configuration.
Now you are ready to go and have a quiet use of your wireless internet router.
It is also recommended to have an updated anti virus and a very good firewall. It will not impact in the use of your router but will help you protect your computer.