Saturday, December 10, 2011
If you have a router in your home/office and you notice the Wi-Fi or the WLAN LED blinking continuously, then its is probable that someone is using your Wi-Fi connection to access the internet. If you suspect that your Wi-Fi is compromised, here are ways in which you can secure your network connection, to prevent any further theft of your precious bandwidth:
[NOTE: To get your router admin page, Go to Start > Run and type cmd and type the command ipconfig . In the results, the Default Gateway is the address you should type in your browser to access the router homepage. It is usually 192.168.1.1]
1. Change your password to something secure
a. Change your router password – The router password is the password which you type to get access to your router’s settings page (usually the URL 192.168.1.1). If a hacker scans all the ports of your IP Address, then by using the default password, he may get illegal access your router settings, which may allow him to change your Wi-Fi settings. The default password is “admin” in most routers, but may vary according to your router’s brand. You should change it to something secure.
b. Change the Wi-Fi password – Whenever someone wants to connect to your Wi-Fi, then they are required to type a password. By making that password very strong, it may take thousands of years for someone to crack your Wi-Fi connection, thus increasing the protection of your network. But, make sure that the password is something you can remember.
2. Change your network encryption
There are 3 kinds of network encryption in Wi-Fi. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is the basic and outdated encryption that many tools can crack within a matter of minutes. WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) is another encryption type – that is the most supported among especially post-2004 routers. Though WPA can be fairly tough to crack, it can still be cracked nevertheless, and having a really strong password is your only bet.
WPA2 is the second version of WPA, and it is considered as the strongest encrypting method to keep your router protected. A WPA2 connection with a secure and long alphanumeric password, is the only way to stay completely protected. This encryption is found only in post-2006 routers.
Here’s what you should do: Avoid WEP and use WAP or WAP2. [with a strong password]
3. Use Scary SSID names
SSID names are the names of your Wi-Fi connection that people can see before connecting their devices. The trick used here is that if you use scary SSID names for your Wi-Fi connection. For example, if you use names like “Police Surveillance Van” or “FBI_van_ID:5404”, then chances are that your (non-geeky) neighbors might get scared, and will not connect to your network.
However, if the Wi-Fi stealer is a geek, then he would probably realize that you are just trying to scare off Wi-Fi theft, which may actually make him steal your connection.
4. Hide your Access Point
You can find the option to hide your access point on almost all routers out there. By selecting this option, whenever someone in your neighborhood scans for all available Wi-Fi connections, then your network wont be exposed.
However, if someone is already connected to your access point, you should also change the SSID and the password, and hide the Access point. [However, you can still find out hidden access points – which makes this method unreliable]
A MAC Address is a unique address allocated to every device which has the ability to connect to a Wi-Fi signal. Some routers (especially Linksys, etc) allows you to use a MAC whitelist, which allows only the MAC addresses (which you mention in the list) to connect to your Wi-Fi.
This means that only your devices – with the whitelisted MAC addresses can connect to your Wi-Fi while the rest of the requests will be rejected by the router.
However, this method is not foolproof as there are ways in which you can change your MAC Address. [If there is no option to set up a MAC whitelist/blacklist/filter, then it may not be supported in your router.]
6. See who is connected to your Wi-Fi
Another way to check Wi-Fi theft is to see who is connected is by going to your router’s admin page and looking at the DHCP table or the Station Info table of your router, which shows all devices which are connected to your Wi-Fi. With the MAC address in your hand, you can add it to the MAC Blacklist (found in almost all routers – again, you just have to search for it in your router admin page). [This is a boon for all Wi-Fi owners to constantly check whether someone is stealing their connection.]
If you have any problem regarding anything with your router, do reach to me for help.