I know I have written before about the importance of securing your wireless network. It’s definitely necessary to make sure your computers are safe from intruders. Without having a secure wireless network, your computers are wide open for others to gain access to and do whatever they want with your data. I know all of that is a little scary, but today, I have a completely new issue that will definitely convince you to lock down your wireless router.
Think about this for a minute. How many times have you looked at the list of available wireless networks in range of your computer? If I look at the list here at WorldStart, I can see three of them right off the bat. That means that right now, if I had the password, I could connect to three different wireless connections.
Now, I’m sure some of you are thinking, “big deal!” Well, that’s what I thought until I read a report the other day about the possibility of a worm that can spread through wireless routers. Researchers at Indiana University did a study on the possibility of a wireless router worm. This worm could spread by first infecting one wireless router and then connecting to all other wireless routers in range and infecting them. Those routers would then, in turn, do the same thing until all the wireless routers in range were infected.
Based on a study of New York City, a worm of this type could easily reach 20,000 routers within just a few days.
The only thing that can stop a worm of this type from spreading is having a strong password on your wireless router. If the worm cannot guess the password, it cannot access your router and will not spread. This is just another reason to make sure you have changed the default passwords on your wireless router.
Now, I’m not going to leave you hanging. Here’s how to change the password on your wireless router:
1.) First, you need to find the address of your router. In Windows XP, go to Start, Control Panel. From there, click on Network Connections. Next, double click on your Wireless Network Connection and then go to the Support tab. Write down the Default Gateway address (it should start with 192.168).
2.) Next, you need to log in to your router. To do so, open your Web browser and in the address bar, type the Default Gateway address you wrote down. Then press Enter on your keyboard. That should bring you to a log in screen. Type in the username and password for your router. (If you don’t know the username and password, you may need to check your router’s manual).
3.) Lastly, you need to change your router’s password. Every router is a little different, but you should be able to find an Administrator area on the screen. In that area, you will see a place to change the password for your router. Make sure your password is something you will remember, but also something that will not be guessed easily. It should not be a word, but rather capital letters, lowercase letters and numbers all mixed together.
After changing your password, click OK and you’ll be all set. Doing this will definitely help to keep the worms out. Until next time, stay safe out there, my friends!