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Is It Possible To Access A Router's Settings If The WiFi Is Password Protected?


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#1 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 02:40 AM

Hello and thanks in advance for any help.  And sorry if this seems a ridiculous question but I can't find an answer despite quite a bit of searching.  It's always been my understanding that in order to access a wireless router's settings it was necessary to be connected to the router either wirelessly or with a cable, and know the (possibly default) user name and password.  Hence, in order to access a wireless router's settings when the router's signal is password protected it would be necessary to either know the wireless password or have access to the physical router.  However, I just read this (emphasis mine):

 

 

Q: My wireless home network is password-protected, but a colleague at work told me it could still be vulnerable to hackers unless I also have a password for my router (which is connected to my Windows 7 computer). Is he right?

 

A: Your colleague is spot on. If you don't password-protect your router, anyone can get access to it and discover your network password. So it behooves you to give your router a password.

To do that, you'll have to access your router settings. In Windows 7, press the Windows (Start) button, type "cmd.exe" in the search box at the bottom and hit enter. This will open a command window, where you need to type "ipconfig" and hit enter. The information that appears will include a "default gateway" consisting of a series of numbers separated by periods, like 192.168.1.2. That's your router's IP address. If you enter it in the address bar of your browser and hit enter, you'll get a log-in window for your router.

There are only a handful of IP addresses for home routers, and most routers come with default user IDs and passwords, the most common of which are "admin" for the ID and either "admin" or "password" for the password. Moreover, you can log in to a router from any Wi-Fi-enabled computer within range of your wireless network. So you can see that accessing an unprotected router isn't all that difficult.

Once you've logged in, go to the administration page in the router settings and change the router's password. Then you can breathe easy.

 

 

 

here (http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Mobile-speech-recognition-can-give-thumbs-a-rest-5452594.php).  Is the above true and, if so, how exactly would one access the router's settings if they had neither the wireless password nor access to the physical router?  I'm at a loss for understanding.  Thanks again for your time :-) .


Edited by LouieChuckyMerry, 06 May 2014 - 02:42 AM.


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#2 smax013

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 03:23 AM

The key point is to change the router's default password (the router password is something different than the password for your WiFi network).  It is the password you enter to access the router's settings.  And, yes, you should change that from the default password as noted in the article.

 

It is also advisable to make sure that you regularly check for firmware updates and install them.  The reason for this is that there have been security bugs in some routers that then get patched with a new firmware update.



#3 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 07:39 AM

smax013:  thank you for your reply, I really appreciate it.  And thanks for the confirmation, but I'm still struggling to understand how the router settings are vulnerable to someone(s) without the wireless password or physical access to the actual router.  I don't need specifics, like a tutorial How To Attack Your Neighbors' Secured Router, but I'd like to understand how the router can be compromised if you don't have the wireless password and can't actually touch it.  Is it because WEP, WPA, etc encryption are relatively easily defeated, then beyond that it's only a matter of default router settings?  Really, this vulnerability is new to me and I'm wanting to understand it (because as of now I can't understand how to access the router without either the password or being able to conncect a cable).  Thanks again for your help.



#4 Kilroy

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 08:29 AM

Mainly backdoors and firmware flaws in the router itself, something you have next to no control over.  Changing the default administrator password is always advised.

 

Hackers hijack 300,000-plus wireless routers, make malicious changes



#5 LouieChuckyMerry

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Posted 06 May 2014 - 06:10 PM

RKilroy:  thanks for your reply, it helps scratch a brain itch :thumbup2: .  I just wanted to make sure that it wasn't as simple as typing an IP address in an address bar (as one accesses their own router's settings) even with the wireless having a password.  Thanks again.



#6 Kilroy

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 02:45 PM

Disabling remote administration is another thing that you can do to help secure the router.






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