Home Network Router Security Secrets
Most people who install a home network never delve inside the netherworld of security settings on their router. Who can blame them—it’s about as frightening as putting your hand in a shoebox full of rabid gerbils. Nevertheless, it’s worth the effort if you know what you’re doing.
To use Router Security features, you need to get inside your router and access its control panel. To do this, type the router’s internal IP address into your web browser on a computer on your network like this address for DLink routers: http://192.168.0.1. For Linksys routers, it’s http://192.168.1.1, and http://192.168.2.1 for several other brands.
Change your admin password.
Routers come with a factory default User ID and password to safeguard a router’s configuration panel. On the DLink router, the User ID is admin and the password is left blank. You should change the password so wireless snoopers can’t get into the router and mess around with its settings. Here’s how: Click the Tools tab, then the Admin button, and change the Administrator password by typing it twice.
Turn on the DMZ and Firewall (NAT/SPI)
Short for Demilitarized Zone, this feature lets you designate an internal device on your network to appear as if it is outside your router’s firewall. It’s handy if you have a webcam or gaming computer that won’t be blocked by the router firewall. To set up a DMZ, simply assign the computer (or webcam) a fixed internal IP address, and then turn on the DMZ in the router and add the computer’s IP address. DMZ settings can be found on a DLink router by clicking the Advanced tab then the DMZ button.
Customize the SSID (Wireless Broadcast)
Change the SSID name on your router from the factory default. On a Linksys router, it is “linksys”. On a DLink router, it is “default”. Change these to a familiar but unique name that doesn’t give away any personal info like your surname or home address. I always try to call it something humorous like snackcentral, fuzzyslippers (see Figure 7), or tastymackerel. This shows any would-be hacker that you have changed the default settings on your router and know how to work the router. If it’s named the default SSID, it’s an invitation to an outsider to come in and poke around