Securing your Netgear Wifi router is pretty straight forward. There are just a few simple steps that you need to take.
It’s important because things have become really crazy lately and securing our wifi networks has become more crucial than ever.
Bot Networks, Wifi Theft and Stolen Banking Information
Cybercrime is real.
There are entire organizations out there targeting not only big businesses and governments, but also trying to access, control and steal information from your home network.
In reality, one of your neighbors stealing your wifi connection is the least of your worries.
We now have to contend with:
- Ransomware - Where someone hijacks your computer and forces you to pay them to unlock it
- Bot Networks - When someone recruits your router into large group of hijacked devices that they use to attack larger targets
- Someone sniffing out your banking password
The good news is that there are steps that we can take to make our router much more secure than the average.
Now, can we entirely stop threats to our network?
Can Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson be taken down?
Yes of course, he’s human, but why would you try if there is a much easier target?
We want to make it much harder for hackers. We don’t want to be an easy mark.
We are going to become like the Rock.
Follow these easy steps and secure your network today!
1. You Own A Netgear Router - You Are Already A Step Ahead
Unlike many other routers, the out of the box the settings on your Netgear router is pretty good.
The firewall is already set up, guest network access is turned off and remote administration is disabled.
There are some other settings that we need to tweak but right now we just want to make sure that everything is set to factory defaults. Let’s go take a look…
First you need to log into your network.
Go into your web browser and type in 192.168.1.1 (if that doesn’t work try 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.2.1. If that doesn’t work then the default IP address has been changed and you may need to do a hard reset of the router by pressing and holding the small button located on the back or underside of your router).
If you have a newer router you may also be able to access the control panel by going to www.routerlogin.com
Then type in your username and password. By default it’s: User: admin
Here is what you want to take a look at...
A). Firewall - Your firewall is the first line of defense. At its most basic it will stop malicious software from passing the router and gaining access to your network.
By default on all netgear routers the firewall is turned on. It is also very difficult to turn it off.
As a matter of fact there isn’t even a button you can click to turn it off. You have to create a rule inside the security setup that allows all traffic to go through:
Go into firewall rules and unless you see a rule that always allows traffic to go out, you’re all good here.
B). Guest Network Access - Many routers have guest access turned on by default allowing anyone who knows the preconfigured password direct access to the network.
Luckily Netgear routers do not. We just want to make sure that it’s turned off.
If you want or need to turn it on, just make sure that you set up a unique, not easily guessed password.
C). Remote Administration - Remote administration is the devil and unless you are prepared to constantly monitor your network to make sure that you’ve not been hacked, you need to leave it off.
Remote administration is exactly what the name implies. It allows someone to administer your router over the internet without being directly connected to your network.
There is obviously some security involved but an experienced hacker can get through it. So just leave it off and configure your network when you’re at home.
2. Who’s There
This is an optional step but if you want to see if anyone is currently leeching off your bandwidth there are couple tools that you can use before we lock down your network.
First is the “Attached Devices” section of your router admin page…
This will give you a general idea of what or who is connected to your network.
It may be tough to decipher what hardware is connected, especially if you have a lot of wireless devices connected through your smart home so if you want more info you can check out whosonmywifi.com
That tool will list most of the manufacturers associated with the device like philips hue lights etc.
If you see anything suspicious… not to worry… we are going to nuke those scumbags in the next few steps.
3. How 99% Of Home Routers Get Hacked And How To Stop It
When you think of a hacker, an image comes to mind of a super genius hunched over his computer in the middle of the night in dim lighting writing crazy long algorithms to crack the world's computer infrastructure.
In reality, most times it’s just a punk kid sitting on his computer after school, drinking Mountain Dew and entering in the default IP address and password to computers within wireless range.
The default password is admin. Just Change it here in the area to change the netgear router password.
You also don’t want someone to have easy access to the login. You can change the default IP address by going to the following screen…
One more word of advice on this topic.
Make sure that you write down your new password and ip address and put it in a secure place. If you forget it you will have to completely reset your router costing you a lot of time.
4. 3 Types Of Encryption - Which One Should I Choose?
You hear the word encryption all the time when it comes to network security but what does it mean?
Well simply put, if you want to read a file that’s been encrypted, you have to have access to a password or secret key that allows you to decipher it.
The encryption difficulty is represented in bits. So a 64bit encryption key is easier to crack than a 256bit key.
Older encryption schemes like WEP are 64 or 128bit and for a variety of other reasons is much easier to hack.
WPA is a major improvement over WEP but it still has its vulnerabilities. Because it is backward compatible with WEP it opens up major security holes.
WPA2 is the most advanced encryption scheme for home networks today. It’s not perfect but it takes a lot more effort to crack than WEP.
You can change it to WPA2 on Netgear wireless router security settings…
5. Future Hacking
This step is very important.
Hackers are constantly at work trying to crack, felch and steal our valuable information.
Luckily companies like Netgear are always patching holes and fixing breaches in security for their products but if you don’t keep your router firmware up to date you are leaving yourself open.
You can get to it from “Firmware Update” under the Maintenance tab.
You can also set it to “Auto” if you don’t want to hassle with manually updating it all the time but you do run the risk of the manufacturer sending a buggy update.
I personally leave it at auto and haven’t had any problems but it’s up to you.
The Rock Would Be Proud
Alright, you have just placed yourself above 98.5% of the general router owning public.
You my friend are no easy target.
Made sure that no one has changed the defaults and created security holes
Checked to see if any leaching scum are stealing your bandwidth
Closed down the easiest hacker target
Setup the best encryption
Protected yourself against future attacks
Congratulations! You now have a secure netgear router.