The Importance Of Changing Your Default Password

Photo by Matthew Brodeur on Unsplash

Your home router is the gateway from your house to the world. Through this router, you get access to the near limitless information available on the internet. The role of the router is a critical one in every household and proper security measures to protect your router should be practiced. While I will be simplifying the role of the router for the purposes of this article, please do some research and dig deeper into the technical details of a router. The router, at a high level, converts an IP address from a public address (usually assigned by your Internet Service Provider ((ISP)) to a local address. This local address is typically distributed in one of two ways: either by ethernet connections (physical hard wires), or by WiFi. You will probably recognize the IP address that the router assigns to your devices as it mostly always starts with a 192.168.X.X pattern. Most devices today are WiFi enabled and it is safe to assume that they make up the majority of the gadgets in a typical household. Your smart speaker, smart lights, tv, game consoles, computers, telephones, washers, dryers, vehicles, are all connected to your router.

As you can imagine, the router in your home is very important. Not only does it handle all the technical communication your devices need to communicate with the internet, but it enables everyone in your household to stay connected and make their lives easier. So, why write an article about a device most people plug in when they activate their internet and then forget about? Given how much of a critical role this single device plays in the home, it is alarming how many people do not change the default password on the device. There are only a few different manufactures of these routers, so there is not much variety in default passwords. Most people might not think it’s not a big deal to change the default password, but why make it easy for hackers to access your home network?

Changing the default username and password is a simple and effective way of guarding your network and devices. Changing your username and password is not very difficult and a simple Google search with the make/model of your router will return instructions on how to accomplish this basic, but critical task. While not a topic of discussion for this post, choose your password wisely. Do not use a regular dictionary based password, as in a password that is a word that can be found in the dictionary. Use a passphrase that is long and use special characters whenever possible. Just be sure you remember your new complex password because it is rather difficult to reset if you forget it. By changing this default password, it will be harder for people to hack into your router and cause damage. All of this is not to say that you are now safe when you are online. Quite the contrary, changing your default password is just one layer of security that you can take. There are many more layers of security that you can partake in order to improve your online security. But at least now hackers have to try a little extra harder when trying to infiltrate your network. Hopefully, the change of password encourages them to move on to their next target and leave you alone.

I’m an engineer working professionally in San Diego, CA. I’m trying to improve every day and use this space to document. Connect: