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You may refer to your router as the "Modem", the "Wi-Fi" or just as the "internet". It is the small box from your internet service provider (ISP) that connects devices like your phone and laptop to the internet. This could be a single device, or many devices that perform separate functions.  

You should secure your router to prevent someone accessing your internet, network and activity. 

How can I improve my router security?

This is the name of your Wi-Fi network and the password you use to access the Wi-Fi on your devices. 

Someone can use your router’s default Wi-Fi network name to determine the make and model of the router. They can then use this information to attempt to gain access to your router. 

  • Change your Wi-Fi network name (also known as SSID) and make sure you don't include any personal information. You can do this in your router’s settings. 

  • Ensure the Wi-Fi network password is long and hard to guess. If your Wi-Fi network password is weak, it can be trivial for cybercriminals to break. A strong passphrase is easy to remember, and hard to guess. Read our advice on passphrases for more information. 

❌ Default Wi-Fi Network Name: NetFirst3524

❌ Default Wi-Fi Network Password: 567448SG

✅ New Wi-Fi Network Name: Tell my Wi-Fi hate pineapple on pizza

✅ New Wi-Fi Network Password: red house sky train

Your router’s default administrator username and password may be available online. This can make it easy for cybercriminals to access if you don’t change them. 

The router username and password are different to what you use to connect to your Wi-Fi. 

You can find these details in your router's user manual, or on a sticker on the device. An internet search of the model number may also provide you with these details. 

  • Open a web browser and type your router’s IP address into the address bar. You can find this along with the username and password in the user manual or on the sticker. It is usually a group of numbers, like 192.168.0.1 or 10.0.0.1. 

  • Enter the router’s username and password when prompted. 

  • Change the password on your device using the router settings. The method is different for every device so check your user manual for instructions. Use a strong, unique passphrase as the new password. Read our advice on passphrases for more information. 

  • Also change the default username (typically 'admin' or 'administrator') to something hard to guess. 

Encryption is what protects your activity and information as it travels over Wi-Fi. Outdated encryption or unencrypted Wi-Fi may make it possible for anyone within range of your router to see your activity.

  • Change the Wi-Fi encryption protocol used by your router. Set it to WPA3 in your router settings. If WPA3 is not available, set it to WPA2 (this is also sometimes called WPA2-Personal or WPA2-PSK).

If your router does not support WPA2 (as a minimum), you should consider replacing it.

Like your phone and computer, updates for your router are often released. These updates fix security issues and sometimes offer new features. 

  • If you are using a router given to you by your internet service provider, you can ask them about security and updates. Providers will often update the device for you automatically, but this is not always the case. 

  • If you are using your own purchased router, find out which update is currently installed by checking the router's settings. The manufacturer’s website will tell you if there’s a more recent update for your router that you can download. 

Updates can be applied in many ways. The most common way is to log into your router. From there, different types of routers will have different ways to access the update. For example, some routers will prompt you to click an ‘update’ button when an update becomes available. This will automatically download the update, install it and restart your router.  

We recommend that you refer to your router’s manual for specific instructions. 

If your router is old and doesn't receive updates, you should consider replacing it. You can also speak to your internet service provider about the options they provide. 

Please note: There are risks to updating routers. Be careful when updating the firmware as a failed update can render your device unusable. Make sure you follow the instructions in your device’s manual. Do not disconnect the power, unplug any cables, or press the reset button during the update. If you don’t feel confident updating your router, consider asking a reputable IT professional for help. 

Disabling remote management and UPnP can increase your protection against remote attackers. 

Remote management 

Remote management on your modem or router can allow you to edit your router’s settings by logging into your device from outside your home. 

  • Ensure remote management is disabled in your router’s settings. Note that if your router was provided by your ISP, disabling remote management may prevent them from providing support. 

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) 

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) allows devices on your network to discover and communicate with each other over Wi-Fi and the internet. 

Many smart devices such as lighting, speakers and security cameras rely on UPnP. This allows you to connect and control them. Some online PC and console games also rely on UPnP to connect online. 

  • Consider the devices in your home or business before disabling Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) in your router's settings. Manual configuration may be required to allow some devices to continue communicating. 

  • Consider enabling the ‘Guest’ Wi-Fi feature in your router’s settings.

Visitors can use Guest Wi-Fi for internet access, but won’t have your Wi-Fi password or access to your main Wi-Fi network and any connected devices.

Note that if guests require access to network devices such as your smart TV, they will need to join the same network that is used by these devices.

 

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