The network security key or the WiFi password is actually a password used to keep your internet connection private and your personal data safe.
Each router (access point) comes with a preset username and password. However, the smart thing to do is to change them both. And the reason is pretty simple.
First of all, personalized things (no matter what they are) always feel better. Simple as that.
On the other hand, the fabric network security key you’ll get with your router might not be as simple to remember as it sounds. It is usually a long tail mixture of numbers and letters that will be quite hard to memorize.
But, how to change this password and replace it with a safe one? Let’s dive in!
Finding your router’s password
As we have mentioned before, each Internet access point comes with a preset username and password.
You can find them both in your users’ manual or on the back of your router. It can be labelled as the password, key, WPA or wireless password. These are all synonyms, and the label doesn’t make any difference. It is just the way different manufacturers label this password; however, they all mean the same thing – your network security key.
Setting a secure password for your router is the best way to stay safe on the Internet.
If your router is not a new one and you forgot your password
Yes, forgetting a WiFi password is something that can happen to anyone. However, obtaining your network security key when already logged into it is much easier than changing the existent one.
All you have to do is to check your network and sharing options, where you’ll find your password since it is already saved on your device.
Step by step guide for finding your password:
For Mac users:
- Open Keychain Access
- Find your WiFi network and open it (top right corner)
- Check the Show Password checkbox
For Windows users:
- Open Network Connection Settings
- Find and open Network and Sharing Center
- Find your WiFi network (you will be able to recognize it by its name)
- Click the Wireless Properties button
- Select the Security tab
- Find the part that shows a masked password and click Show Characters button
Changing your network security key
Changing this password of yours might seem like a serious task to take on, but it really isn’t. Looking at YouTube tutorials might make this process look like only a hacker can handle it. However, you can do it as well.
Here is what you will need to do in order to reset your password (and username if you’d like):
- Find the IP address of your router (In most cases it is either 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1.; If not, you can find your router’s IP address in its manual)
- Open your browser
- Type the IP address into the address bar
- Once you press enter you will see your router’s login page
- Find the password/security page (it can have a different label, depending on the manufacturer)
- Change the network security key
- Save the changes
- Restart your router
**When it comes to changing your router settings, it doesn’t matter if you are using a Mac or a Windows device since all the changes are done online.
Creating a strong network security key
Having a strong WiFi password is essential for cybersecurity. Here are some tips on what you should and shouldn’t do:
- Passwords should be a minimum of eight characters. The more characters there are, the better.
- Passwords should be random (for example setting the same password as your username won’t be of much use).
- Mix it up. Misspelling the words, using numbers instead of words,… – all these things are a good idea when it comes to creating a strong and secure network security key.
- Avoid passwords such as abc123, aaa111, and similar.
- Don’t repeat. Using the same password for different things (email, social media, WiFi, etc.) is a bad idea. If one of your accounts ever gets hacked, it could bring you a lot of trouble. And especially since we all tend to share our WiFi passwords with our house guests – you wouldn’t want anyone else in possession of your emails or DMs.
Always use different passwords for different accounts.
Upgrade your router’s security
There are 3 different types of wireless encryption: WEP, WPA, and WPA2. WEP was surpassed by newer protocols, and won’t provide you with the right level of security, so avoid using this type of encryption even if your router has this option.
WPA2 is the newest protocol that will provide you with the most security, and the one we would recommend you to use.
For more information, feel free to check out wireless router reviews.
Change your network name
This name will be visible to everyone looking at WiFi routers within your range. That means that you shouldn’t include any personal information in it.
The best thing you can do is to choose a name that will be easy to remember and recognize amongst others (for you, your house guests, or employees).
And once again – never set the same username and password.
How often should you change your network security password?
In order to improve your WiFi network, you will need to change the preset administrative password right after installing your router unit. However, in order to maintain your network safe, you will have to change your username and password periodically.
Some industry professionals recommend changing them every 30 to 90 days.
You don’t have to do it as often when it comes to your home network.
Business networks are more exposed to hacker attacks and require additional layers of security.
The best thing you can do is to set a schedule and make changing your username and network security key a routine practice, no matter if it is your home or business network.
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