Changing (and discovering) default passwords

It is best practice and K-State policy to change default passwords on any device added to the network. It’s also critical to do this at home on devices like your cable modem, DSL modem, and wireless router to reduce the chances that someone can change the configuration and gain unauthorized and potentially malicious access to your network.  If you’re not convinced of the need to do this, see the June 22 InfoTech Tuesday article on why you should secure your home wireless network.

Be sure to remember the new password when you change the default — write it down and store it in a secure place (and a place where you can find it later). Many times I’ve visited a family member or friend and needed to use their wireless network, only to be prevented from doing so because they can’t remember the security key and don’t know the administrator password to get onto the device to check or change the configuration. This is often the case when someone else sets up the security on your home network.

In case you’re wondering how hard (or easy) it is for someone else to determine the default password for your device, visit this online router password database. That should be enough incentive to go home and change your default passwords… and you can use this router password database if you don’t know the default password and lost the documentation!

About Harvard Townsend (harv@ksu.edu)

Chief Information Security Officer
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