WPA2

Is my wifi secure?

WiFi Signal

Episode 1674

Mike from Yakama, WA

Mike is worried that his WiFi network is compromised since his encryption was bypassed. Leo said that WEP was hacked, and routers went to WPA. And then WPA2. But the latest news is that "Krack attacks" have gotten into WPA2. Leo says it's largely sensationalized headlines and that it's very hard to do and requires a lot of time being on the network itself. Also, by now, most routers have been patched against Krack. So it's not really anything to fret over. And WPA3 is on the horizon, with new routers turning it on with a software upgrade.

Here are some things you can do:

How can I make my phone hotspot mode secure?

Wi-Fi

Episode 1536

Mark from Los Angeles, CA

Mark wants to use his Android phone as a hotspot. Leo says that it's under the Internet settings under "Hotspot and Tethering." And his phone carrier must support it, usually for an extra charge. But he's having issues using any security with a password. Leo says that's not good. It shouldn't be disabled. Leo wonders if that phone doesn't support WPA2. None is not a good choice. If there's WEP, that wouldn't be great, but it's better than nothing. He'll ideally want WPA2 with PSK (pre shared key).

Set Up Your Router Securely

When you get a new router, there are a few things you can do to make sure it's set up securely.

The first thing you'll do is connect it to your computer and check the manual to find out how to configure it.

Once it's connected to your computer, you'll use the browser to navigate to a special address as instructed in the manual. It should be something like 192.168.1.1. This will take you to the login screen for the router.

Is my cable router safer than my own router?

Episode 1177

Steve from Redondo Beach, CA

Steve has his own Wi-Fi router but his cable company just gave him a new router with Wi-Fi built in. Is it more secure? Leo says they're about the same security wise. He'll want to be sure to turn on WPA2 password protection. And often routers have security flaws and rarely get updated. So Steve should make sure he has his router firmware updated.

How can I connect my laptop to my wireless network?

Wi-Fi router

Episode 1142

Brandon from Huntington Beach, CA

Brandon is trying to connect an older laptop to Wi-Fi, but it isn't working. Leo says that if other devices can connect, then chances are that the laptop may not support WPA2, which the network runs on. He could try WEP, but it's been cracked, so it's not really all that secure if there's someone with maligned intent. But if it's all he can get, it's better than nothing.

How can I secure my Wi-Fi Router?

Episode 1050

Naomi from Denver, CO

Naomi wants to change her router name, and is wondering what else she can do to secure it. Leo says to avoid personal details, and avoid using the name of the router. Leo uses the names of rock stars. She can really name it anything, even "FBI Surveillance Van." If she configures it properly, it's as secure as wired, just not as fast. For pure performance online, she should use a wired connection through Ethernet. If she doesn't need the wireless, then just disable it in the settings.

Leo's list of what to do to lock down your Wi-Fi router:

How can I secure my wireless network?

Episode 967

John from South Bend, IN

John wants to secure his wireless network, and is wondering if he should set it up with MAC addresses. Leo says MAC addresses don't really do anything. He recommends setting up the router with WPA2 (NOT WEP) encryption and give it a good password with alpha and numeric digits. He should also set the SSID for something that is easy to remember (Leo uses dead rock stars).

How can I get on WPA2 Wi-Fi on an old laptop?

Episode 966

Dick from Orange County, CA

Dick has a 7 year old ThinkPad, and he can't get on WPA2 Wi-Fi networks. Leo suggests buying a USB WiFi Dongle. That'll take the WPA2 signal for him.

The chatroom says that it's possible to change out the Wi-Fi card on the laptop, but Leo says it's cheaper to go the dongle route. Dick just has to be sure he's using the latest Service Pack of XP (SP3). He'll also get better reception that way.