Protect your Wireless Lan

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 7, 2007
Updated • May 30, 2013

More and more users use wireless connections to connect to the Internet. Many do use a wireless LAN router by default that they get from their internet provider and while there are certainly some that go right ahead and secure the router or modem properly, it is likely that many do not and are just happy that it works right away.

Insecure Wireless routers are a main target of  hackers but also of neighbors who like a free ride on the Internet.

While it does not seem too bad on first glance, you need to understand that all activities of the third party falls back to you in first place. If they download copyrighted files, commit fraud, spam, access pornography or spread malicious software, then it is you who gets the (first) blame if detected. You will be held responsible for abuse that is done with your connection.

You need to know the basic information about your wireless router before you can begin to protect it.

  • Who is the manufacturer
  • What is the name and model of the wireless router

Visit the manufacturers website and search for updates for your router. Updates are normally in the form of firmware updates which updates the device, often to include additional features or security updates.Please consult the website for instructions on how to update the firmware of your router.

Make sure you update it using a wired connection because wireless connection are less stable and any interruption to the process may brick the router or modem.

It is now time to protect the router further. Connect to the interface which is normally done by opening the IP of the router. (default most of the time) Enter username and password and change them when your are logged in. Many routers get hacked because the user did not change the default authentication of the device.

You just have to search on the Internet for a name and model to find the default admin username and password listed on websites.

Now it is time to configure the security settings of the w-lan router. Add a service set identifier (SSID), it does not really matter how you name it, just remember the name as you need to select it when you are connecting to the device.

Enable the strongest encryption method available, this is normally WPA2 with AES. If you have an older router or a device that does not support WPA2 you should think of buying a new router or updating the devices. Make sure you use a large string with numbers and letters as the encryption key. A good value is at least between 20 and 30 chars long. Make sure you remember it because you need to supply the key to the other devices that have to connect to the router (you can look it up in the dashboard though).

Enable Mac filtering, look up your mac address by using the command line in Windows XP and typing ipconfig /all. The physical address is your mac address. This ensures that only computers with a Mac address that is listed in the router can connect to it. Please note that the Mac address can be faked.

If you do not need the full transmitter power because your router and computer are physically close to each other you could reduce the transmitter power to reduce the chance that someone from outside your walls will be able to find the router and connect to it. Please be aware that a good antenna on the device that wants to connect to your router is able to counter this strategy.

Here is a list of other ideas that are worth investigating.

  • Disable all services that you do not need.
  • It is a very good idea to power off the router when you do not need it to prevent anyone from connecting to it while you are away. Alternatively turn off wireless.
  • If you have the means monitor the traffic of your wireless connection to find out if someone else uses it as well.
  • Enable the firewall of the router and configure it properly
  • If the router has a logging feature enable it and analyze it regularly.
  • Limit the maximum number of DHCP addresses if you use that feature.
  • Use Authentication if possible.

Tutorials & Tips

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  1. ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    Doesn’t Windows 8 know that www. or http:// are passe ?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

      Well it is a bit difficulty to distinguish between domains and files for instance.

    2. Leonidas Burton said on September 4, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I know a service made by google that is similar to Google bookmarks.

  2. VioletMoon said on August 16, 2023 at 5:26 pm

    @Ashwin–Thankful you delighted my comment; who knows how many “gamers” would have disagreed!

  3. Karl said on August 17, 2023 at 10:36 pm


    The comments section under this very article (3 comments) is identical to the comments section found under the following article:

    Not sure what the issue is, but have seen this issue under some other articles recently but did not report it back then.

  4. Anonymous said on August 25, 2023 at 11:44 am

    Omg a badge!!!
    Some tangible reward lmao.

    It sucks that redditors are going to love the fuck out of it too.

  5. Scroogled said on August 25, 2023 at 10:57 pm

    With the cloud, there is no such thing as unlimited storage or privacy. Stop relying on these tech scums. Purchase your own hardware and develop your own solutions.

    1. lollmaoeven said on August 27, 2023 at 6:24 am

      This is a certified reddit cringe moment. Hilarious how the article’s author tries to dress it up like it’s anything more than a png for doing the reddit corporation’s moderation work for free (or for bribes from companies and political groups)

  6. El Duderino said on August 25, 2023 at 11:14 pm

    Almost al unlmited services have a real limit.

    And this comment is written on the dropbox article from August 25, 2023.

  7. John G. said on August 26, 2023 at 1:29 am

    First comment > @ilev said on August 4, 2012 at 7:53 pm

    For the God’s sake, fix the comments soon please! :[

  8. Kalmly said on August 26, 2023 at 4:42 pm

    Yes. Please. Fix the comments.

  9. Kim Schmidt said on September 3, 2023 at 3:42 pm

    With Google Chrome, it’s only been 1,500 for some time now.

    Anyone who wants to force me in such a way into buying something that I can get elsewhere for free will certainly never see a single dime from my side. I don’t even know how stupid their marketing department is to impose these limits on users instead of offering a valuable product to the paying faction. But they don’t. Even if you pay, you get something that is also available for free elsewhere.

    The algorithm has also become less and less savvy in terms of e.g. English/German translations. It used to be that the bot could sort of sense what you were trying to say and put it into different colloquialisms, which was even fun because it was like, “I know what you’re trying to say here, how about…” Now it’s in parts too stupid to translate the simplest sentences correctly, and the suggestions it makes are at times as moronic as those made by Google Translations.

    If this is a deep-learning AI that learns from users’ translations and the phrases they choose most often – which, by the way, is a valuable, moneys worthwhile contribution of every free user to this project: They invest their time and texts, thereby providing the necessary data for the AI to do the thing as nicely as they brag about it in the first place – alas, the more unprofessional users discovered the translator, the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, the greater the aggregate of linguistically illiterate users has become, and the worse the language of this deep-learning bot has become, as it now learns the drivel of every Tom, Dick and Harry out there, which is why I now get their Mickey Mouse language as suggestions: the inane language of people who can barely spell the alphabet, it seems.

    And as a thank you for our time and effort in helping them and their AI learn, they’ve lowered the limit from what was once 5,000 to now 1,500…? A big “fuck off” from here for that! Not a brass farthing from me for this attitude and behaviour, not in a hundred years.

  10. Anonymous said on September 28, 2023 at 8:19 am

    When will you put an end to the mess in the comments?

  11. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 9:36 am

    Ghacks comments have been broken for too long. What article did you see this comment on? Reply below. If we get to 20 different articles we should all stop using the site in protest.

    I posted this on [] so please reply if you see it on a different article.

    1. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 11:01 am

      Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  12. RIP said on September 28, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Comment redirected me to [] which seems to be the ‘real’ article it is attached to

  13. Mystique said on September 28, 2023 at 12:13 pm

    Article Title: Reddit enforces user activity tracking on site to push advertising revenue
    Article URL:

    No surprises here. This is just the beginning really. I cannot see a valid reason as to why anyone would continue to use the platform anymore when there are enough alternatives fill that void.

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