by Eileen | 2:56 am, January 8, 2013 | Comments Off
Earlier today, I got to have all the fun of setting up a new gateway for my wifi network, Stately and Historic Mahony Hall. Yes, that really is what I named my network. I look down on people who are either too lazy to change it from the default or too unimaginative to do something fun.
Speaking of changing defaults, I was setting up the router password. Here comes to privacy lesson. We’ll get to making fun of me in a moment. Wi-fi networks actually have two passwords – the one you make up that any computer trying to use the network needs to produce, and the actual password that controls the router, or gateway…whatever you have.
That little box with all its blinking lights can actually be turned against you if you don’t take some really easy steps.
Access to the router allows someone to monitor all traffic on the network, generate reports, get lots of info about devices connected to the network, and bump devices off the network. Plainly, an unprotected router is a bad idea. It’s a one-time set-up and ever-after forget it deal. Most people have little, if any, occasion to play around with the settings, but it’s something you can change in a minute or two and protect yourself. PPC covers this step-by-step in our privacy classes.
So, there’s the lesson. A password to access the wi-fi isn’t sufficient security. You need to look down your actual router.
Now, on to mocking me. I went to the admin page for my new gateway and correctly figured that the default username would be ‘admin’. Score one for me. And then I wasted sweet, precious minutes of my life trying to figure out the default password. I tried the encryption key, the MAC, the PIN…if you ever turn a router or a gateway over, there are rather a lot of long gibberishy strands. I tried them all. Twice. Character strings I knew couldn’t possibly be the password. And yet I sat there, flummoxed by technology.
I was about to call the 24-tech people and get fussy when it hit me. The default password was ‘password’. From then on, it was clear sailing.
However, you should never presume some nefarious scoundrel trying to take over your wi-fi is as blithely ignorant as I. Change your passwords from their pansy-a**ed factory defaults.
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