Your Wi-Fi Network Is Full of Holes


Your Wi-Fi Network Is Full of Holes!

Is your Wi-Fi network secure? The answer to that question is the same as the answer to this question: Is your cold beer safe on a hot day with sweaty men around? Nope.

If you bought your Wi-Fi router and set it up without changing any of the factory settings on the device, you are a prime target for a wireless network snoop. That's because Wi-Fi routers ship with all the security protections turned off.

Why? Because if they were all turned on, they would be difficult to configure. It would be like buying a minivan with the child locks on, the hazard lights flashing and the parking brake engaged. It would take you a while to get the vehicle unencumbered so you could fishtail off the lot and speed home into the arms of your fashion model spouse.

Tip

A little lingo alert here. When I say default , I mean the way the settings were configured when they came from the factory. You might hear this word a lot in the context of computers and technology. It just means the way things are originally set by the manufacturer or programmer.


In the next few pages I am going to show you some critical steps you need to take to make your network more secure. Many tips require that you electronically crawl inside the router using your web browser. This in itself can be a challenge, so before we get any further into these deliciously fun procedures, let me show you how to access a router's settings.

How to Access Your Router Set-up

To get into your router, you'll need to determine what internal IP address has been assigned to it. Each device attached to your home network has one of these numerical addresses.

Caution

Accessing your router's settings is a critical step in securing your home network, so make sure you don't skip this section. I'll refer to it often and without warning. Uh-oh. I sound like your ninth-grade history teacher, don't I?


You can get this information by using a hidden Windows function and using the following steps:

In the early days of personal computers before Windows, computers used a command-line operating system called MS-DOS or Microsoft Disk Operating System. The DOS emulation window is faked DOS. It's not real; however, it still has functions that look and work like DOS.

This DOS window is useful because you can ask for very specific information about your network connection here.


1.
Click the Start menu, and select Run.

2.
If you have Windows XP, type cmd (see Figure 6.7).

Figure 6.7. Type cmd into the Run box.


If you have Windows 95, 98, or Me, type command instead.

3.
Click OK and a DOS emulation window opens.

4.
You'll see a command prompt (flashing cursor) where you can type instructions (see Figure 6.8).

Figure 6.8. Type ipconfig at the DOS prompt to display your network's settings.

5.
At the flashing cursor, type ipconfig .

6.
Press Enter.

7.
Information about your network appears below the line where you typed ipconfig. Look for the line that says Default Gateway. This displays the IP address of your network router. Make a note of it. It will probably look like one of the following IP addresses:

  • 192.168.0.1

  • 192.168.1.1

  • 192.168.2.1

  • 192.168.x.1Where x is any number from 0 to 255. Normally this shows that the person who installed the router has customized it from its default settings set by the factory.

  • 10.0.0.1Common in the Apple world.

To get inside the router and look at its settings, follow these steps:

1.
Open your web browser and type the router's IP address you just retrieved (see Figure 6.9), like this, for example:

  http://192.168.0.1  . 

Figure 6.9. Type your router's IP address into your web browser to access the device's settings information.

2.
Press Enter or click Go on the web browser.

3.
Next, the router asks for a user ID and password. If the router has never been customized, this information can be obtained by checking the manual for the router or accessing the support area of the website of the router's manufacturer. If the site has a search engine, use these search terms: router user ID password .

4.
Type in the user ID and password into the router and you'll be given access to the router's settings page.

Table 6.1 shows some common user ID and passwords for various brands of popular routers. If it says (blank) next to your brand of router, don't type ( blank ) that means enter nothing in that field when you access your router.

Table 6.1. Common Default Router User IDs and Passwords

Router Brand

User ID

Password

D-Link

admin

(blank)

Netgear

admin

password (Note: on older routers it's 1234)

Linksys

(blank)

admin

Belkin

admin

(blank)

SMC

admin

smcadmin


Tip

If you use Windows 95, 98, or Me, type winipcfg instead of ipconfig . A Windows box appears with the network information you need.





Absolute Beginners Guide To. Security, Spam, Spyware & Viruses
Absolute Beginners Guide to Security, Spam, Spyware & Viruses
ISBN: 0789734591
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 168

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