How to Disable WPS in Order to Protect Your Network

WPS leaves your Wi-Fi vulnerable to hacking

If you changed the default administrator password on your router, your home network's weakest part is a feature called WPS and it's a feature available in many routers. WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup and it was introduced to make it easier to connect new devices to a network such as a Sky TV box or game consoles.

How to Disable WPS in Order to Protect Your Network
Host Sorter / Unsplash

How Does WPS Work?

The idea behind WPS is that when a button on the router and a button on the device are pressed, both items pair automatically. This way, you don't have to do any technical configuration.

If a device doesn't have a WPS button, the router can be set up so that a PIN is entered in the setup screen for the device to create a connection instead of the long 16-character WPA password often provided by routers.

The PIN is an eight-digit number and is easily hacked. For a human, hacking an eight-digit number takes some time, but the process of hacking the WPS PIN of a router is as simple as installing a single piece of software that will do the hard work. There aren't even any difficult command-line options to enter.

Does It Matter If Somebody Uses Your Wi-Fi Connection? 

With the right software, unauthorized users on your Wi-Fi connection can:

  • View all traffic sent to and from a computer over HTTP.
  • Download illegal content using a network. 
  • Attempt to hack the actual computer.
  • Attempt to access network shared hard drives on a home network.
  • If the default username and password are set on the router, they can access the router's settings and make changes.
  • Perform a man in the middle attack by altering data sent from and to a computer.

How to Disable WPS

The procedure to disable WPS differs by router manufacturer.

Apple Airport

WPS is not available for Apple Airport devices so you should already be protected.

ASUS

  1. Open a web browser and type 192.168.1.1

  2. Enter the administrator username and password (defaults username admin and password admin).

  3. Select Advanced Settings > Wireless

  4. Choose WPS from the tab.

  5. Move the slider next to Enable WPS to the off position.

Belkin

  1. Open a web browser and type 192.168.2.1 (or http://router).

  2. Select Login in the top-right corner.

  3. Enter the router's password (default, leave blank) and click Submit.

  4. Select Wi-Fi Protected Setup under the Wireless menu on the left side of the screen.

  5. Change the Wi-fI Protected Setup drop-down list option to Disabled.

  6. Select Apply Changes.

Buffalo

Buffalo routers are not affected by the WPS problem.

Cisco Systems

  1. Open a browser and enter the IP address for your router. Cisco devices feature different options that allow you to get both the IP address and default usernames and passwords for your specific hardware.

  2. Select Wireless > Wi-Fi Protected Setup from the menu.

  3. Select Off to disable WPS.

  4. Select Save to apply your settings.

D-Link

  1. Open a browser and type 192.168.1.1 into the address bar.

  2. Login to the setup (default username: admin leave the password empty).

  3. Select the Setup tab.

  4. Remove the check next to Enable in Wi-Fi Protected Setup.

  5. Select Save settings.

Netgear

  1. Open a browser and type www.routerlogin.net

  2. Enter the username and password (default username: admin and password: password).

  3. Select Advanced Setup and select Wireless Settings.

  4. Under WPS Settings place a check in the Disable Router's Pin box.

  5. Select Apply.

Trendnet

  1. Open a browser and type 192.168.10.1

  2. Login to the router settings page (default username: admin and password: admin).

  3. Select WPS under the Wireless menu.

  4. Change the WPS drop-down list option to Disable.

  5. Select Apply.

ZyXEL

  1. Open a browser and type 192.168.0.1

  2. Login to the router settings (default username: admin and password: 1234).

  3. Select Wireless Setup.

  4. Select WPS.

  5. Select the blue button to disable WPS.

Linksys

In theory, Linksys routers are no longer affected by this problem. You cannot turn off WPS but Linksys routers prevent brute-force attacks on the PIN so they resist the sort of attempts made by common hacking tools.