I'm Not a Hacker
I run a WiFi business so have an interest in what is know as Pen Testing or Penetration Testing which is finding and securing vulnerabilities in WiFi security that hackers would exploit to their advantage. The internet is full of free software and tutorials on hacking WiFi, I learnt everything from these sites and Youtube videos & have gained access to some WiFi routers in just four minutes. Read this page and take my advice.
Wireless Internet routers or WiFi routers make our lives easier but also leave us open to attack and most people have no idea how easy it is to break the encryption. The majority of Internet routers supplied by ISPs have WiFi enabled by default and even if you don't use WiFi you are still vulnerable to attack. This page will help you secure your WiFi router and make it very difficult for even the best hackers to gain access.
I will not list the methods but I will use my knowledge of the methods used to help you secure your WiFi router and avoid being hacked when using public or free WiFi networks.
This is NOT a guide on hacking, if you want that please look elsewhere.
What Happens If Your WiFi Router Can Be Accessed
If you leave your connection unsecured people WILL use it, sometimes without even knowing as many devices automatically connect to open (unsecured) networks by default and this will firstly slow down your connection. Although many Internet providers claim to give you an unlimited download allowance this is just not true and if your connection uses a high amount of data they will either slow down your connection, charge you extra or disconnect you.
Secondly anything someone else does on your network will be associated with you, even illegal activity such as downloading copy written music and movies or worse child pornography.
Thirdly there will be malicious hackers who will attempt to steal password, login details and financial details.
Securing Your WiFi Router
There are three basic levels of security however if used incorrectly they are as good as no security.
Open/Unsecured is like leaving your front door wide open - don't use it.
WEP is like leaving the key in your front door - don't use it.
WPA/WPA2 is only secure if used properly. You must change the default password which it was supplied with and use a STRONG RANDOM password made up of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters like v%£dfvYU8g$V$@?dvE73
Your Wifi Router Security
How To Change Router Default Login Details
You must first change the login details to make changes to the router settings. The default login details are widely available online so you MUST change these immediately. This gives you access to the router to change details such as network name and WiFi password, it is usually on a sticker somewhere on the router.
- Enter the web address of the router (http://192.168.0.1) in the address bar of your browser where you would type a website address (example www.google.com). You will then be taken to the router login page
- Enter the Username - admin
- Enter the password - changeme
You can now change the default router login details to something more secure, this is your first line of defence.
Change Router Login Details
Change The Default SSID & Password (WiFi Key)
Now you MUST change the default SSID (Network Name - virginmedia7340133) and password (utcsjcru) as these are also widely available online. The password you choose MUST be a random combination of letters, numbers and special characters as mentioned above.
Please note this is an old router of mine which I no longer use and have changed the details.
Change The Default SSID & Password (WiFi Key)
How To Change SSID & Password
WPS or Wireless Protected Setup has a major security flaw, I will not detail this but if you have the option to turn off WPS then turn it off.
Don't Use WiFi
If you can connect your PC or laptop to the router with an Ethernet cable instead of using WiFi and turn the WiFi off in Wireless Settings then do so. You will have a much better connection and WiFi hackers will not be able to access your router.
Update, Update, Update!
We all hate those annoying Windows Update pop ups telling us to update something but they are VITAL to the security of our system. Updates for other programs are just as important, if a hacker can access your WiFi they can access your computer and if your programs are out of date they can easily hijack your computer. Updates are usually issued because a security hole has been discovered by hackers and an update is issued to fix those holes. These security holes will be known in the hacking community within HOURS and if you don't update your system hackers will exploit the holes within MINUTES! You have be warned!
Beware of Free WiFi
Free or public WiFi is everywhere now and it helps us stay connected and saves us money on expensive data plans but there are also many risks associated with it. Free WiFi networks in coffee shops are usually set up by coffee shop owners, not security professionals.
Firstly it is a shared network which means anyone can connect to it and 'sniff' (collect data) sent over the network, if you are just browsing web pages or watching YouTube videos there is little risk but when you enter login details and passwords always remember that they can be seen by hackers connected to the network.
You will also see open/unsecured WiFi networks in residential areas, most of the time they are simply domestic networks which have not been properly secured. But sometimes they are open networks deliberately set up by hackers known has 'honeypots' designed to steal passwords.
Even if the network name looks familiar like 'Starbucks' or 'McDonalds WiFi' it does not mean it is genuine.
Never enter information you don't want stolen on a Public or Free WiFi network.
Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on September 10, 2019:
Sept. 10, tonight @ 10:45 p.m., CDST.
SpaceShanty, I am amazed at how in-depth your hub was with the problem with hacking WiFi. Where I live, we have hackers in our area and they hack so much, that I think that they need to open a retail business. "Hacks-R-Us," and be finished with it.
Thanks for the great read.
Write me anytime you like.
SpaceShanty (author) from United Kingdom on August 04, 2014:
Yes it is, you can just see the MAC address of devices connected to the router (white listed) and use another program to change your wifi card's MAC address to a white listed MAC.
Mrinal Saha from Jaipur,India on August 04, 2014:
Only if knows the mac address that has been white-listed by our router. Which is not possible easily.
SpaceShanty (author) from United Kingdom on February 04, 2014:
Not really, any hacker can change the MAC address of their wifi card to hop onto your network.
Mrinal Saha from Jaipur,India on June 24, 2013:
Thanks ,, Filtering mac address is also a very important security steps that could be taken to secure wifi