How to Disable WPS in Order to Protect Your Network

Cracking The WPS Code Of A Router

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Assuming, of course, that you've changed the default administrator's password on your router, your home network's weakest part is a feature called WPS and it's a feature available in many routers for sale today.

WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup and it was introduced to make it easier to connect new devices to a network such as your Sky TV box or game consoles.

How Does WPS Work?

The idea behind WPS is that you press a button on the router and a button on the device and both items will pair automatically so you don't have to do any meaningful technical configuration.

If your device doesn't have a WPS button then the router can be set up so that you just need to type in a PIN into the setup screen for your device to create a connection instead of the long 16-character WPA password often provided by routers.

The PIN is the main problem because it's easily hacked. Why? It's only an eight-digit number. For a human, hacking an eight-digit number will take 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 for you. 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 your computer over HTTP
  • Download illegal content using your network. 
  • Attempt to hack your actual computer
  • Attempt to access network shared hard drives on your home network
  • If you have the default user and password set on the router they can access your router's settings and change them
  • Perform a man in the middle attack by altering data sent from and to your computer

How to Turn off 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. Click 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. Click Login in the top-right corner.
  3. Enter the router's password (default, leave blank) and click Submit.
  4. Click 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. Click 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 so visit this page to get both the IP address and default usernames and passwords for your specific hardware.
  2. Click Wireless > Wi-Fi Protected Setup from the menu.
  3. Click Off to disable WPS.
  4. Click 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. Click the Setup tab.
  4. Remove the check next to Enable in Wi-Fi Protected Setup.
  5. Click 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. Click Advanced Setup and select Wireless Settings.
  4. Under WPS Settings place a check in the Disable Router's Pin box.
  5. Click 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. Click WPS under the Wireless menu.
  4. Change the WPS drop-down list option to Disable.
  5. Click 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. Click Wireless Setup.
  4. Click WPS.
  5. Click 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.