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Modem safety tips

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Is your home network secure? With the wealth of personal information stored on our computers and other connected devices, it’s important to find out! When it comes to checking the security of your home network, your modem or WiFi router should be your first point of focus. After all, it handles all the data going in and out of your broadband connection, so it’s vital that its settings are in ship-shape.

To help protect your network, we’ve put together a list of the settings you should check whenever you get a new modem or WiFi router up and running.

Protect your modem settings

In order to access your modem/router settings in the first place, you’ll need to log in to your modem’s default gateway address with its admin password (and sometimes, a username, too). The default login credentials are always found on the modem’s barcode sticker, such as the example below. However, if you know a thing or two about password strength, you’ll know that the common default passwords (e.g. “admin” or “password”) aren’t very strong at all. Not to mention that if the admin password is the same as the one printed on the barcode sticker, guests, housemates or children could easily access and change your router settings.

barcodestickerexample_admin

It’s best to change the password to a stronger option that you’ll be able to remember. We’ve got a guide on how to change the admin password on every modem sold by us right here.

Note: If you use a feature known as Remote Administration, it’s VERY important that you have a strong password in place!

Remote Admin: ditch it if you don’t need it

Speaking of Remote Admin, it’s important to switch it off if you don’t absolutely need it. This feature allows users to access your modem settings from a remote location. While it’s useful for some tech-savvy individuals, most of us don’t need the function. Insecure Remote Admin settings have been the subject of a number of security scares over the years.

All modems supplied by us have Remote Administration disabled by default. If you’re really not sure if you’ve enabled it or not, this guide includes steps for checking that Remote Admin is switched off. If you have a third party router, please visit the manufacturer’s website for support information.

Set up your WiFi right

So, how else can you prevent unwanted access to your home network? Your wireless network, or WiFi, is a common target, especially in areas with a denser population. No matter where you’re located, your WiFi network should always have a password to connect, and using a stronger encryption method such as WPA2 will give you better protection.

Most WiFi routers come with a default network ready to go right out of the box. Fortunately, they’re set up with a password, but much like the default admin password, the default WiFi password is printed on the modem’s barcode sticker, making it accessible to guests, housemates and children. While connected to your WiFi network, users can’t just use your broadband data: they can also access other devices connected to your home network, such as printers or storage drives, and potentially even log in to your router settings.

barcodestickerexample_wifi

You can customise your WiFi network with a strong, unique password that you can share with trusted individuals. You’ll find instructions on how to do this for all modems sold by us in their Quick Setup Guides or User Manuals here. If you have a third party router, please visit the manufacturer’s website for support information.

Pro tips

  • Having trouble memorising your new WiFi password? Write it down and keep it somewhere secure, like a home safe or a locked drawer.
  • If you have one of our TG-789 or TG-1 Broadband Gateways, you can set up a special guest WiFi network to let visitors use your WiFi connection without giving them access to your main home network.
  • If you’re really stuck, you can factory reset your modem to return all the default settings, including the default WiFi network. However, you’ll need to set up your modem again after doing this, so make sure you have your modem’s setup guide ready before you factory reset! iiNet modem guides are available here.

Keep your modem up to date

You’re probably familiar with software updates, but what about “firmware”? Firmware is a special type of software that’s programmed into a device’s read-only memory. It gives the device everything it needs to operate, such as telling your modem’s how to run your broadband service. That includes security protocols, so it’s good to make sure your modem has the latest firmware.

If you’ve got a modem supplied by us, you’re in luck: our current range of modems update their firmware automatically, so you don’t need to do a thing to make sure it’s on the latest version. However, if you use a third party modem, you should visit the manufacturer’s website to see if any firmware updates are available, particularly if you’re using an older model.

Stay safe, everyone!

Do have a security tip to share? Tell us in the comments.

4 comments

  1. Ted Mark says:

    so a few tips that I use when setting up a modem or router it’s cut and paste, passwords from a reputable security provider both have a max of 16 digits for passwords and will reject more. Names I use dinosaur names cos I like’em, up to 64 or less for wireless passwords if if attaching a router and turn the modem wireless off. Router most settings will be changed by the Modem so its 20 digit wireless passwords and 16 digit for the interface all in a MS worddoc. Installed on a USB drive with password security check both the Network folder for “guests” and a speed check after your online these are baseline readings if they swing wildly then you may have a guest. If you cut and paste to open the modem interface and cant get in the push the reset button and start or gain entry and do a factory reset. Most modem / routers have MAC accept or deny folders using a Wireless App take note of all the surrounding Mac address’s enter them into wireless folder and select deny access.

  2. Darrell Lewis says:

    The first things I did to the modem was change the passwords, then changed the default DNS servers to the free adguard DNS servers as that stops most ads, malware and phishing sites.

    On your computers, change the search engine to duckduckgo as they don’t track your searches, unlike google.

  3. Sonja says:

    When I go on my laptop top go into Admin and change the password it won’t let me. Says I’m not using correct ‘old password. Same thing happens when I try to change the name of the modem, telling me I’m not using correct ‘old name’. Very annoying when I’m doing everything correct.

  4. John SH says:

    Reading through the reviews of DDG it seems that the security side of it is very good but the search side is USA biased and not reliable in the results. I’ll give it a miss.

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