By default, many routers have Wi-Fi protected setup (WPS) which can let you connect to your router without needing its SSID and password. However, WPS makes your router vulnerable to PIN-guessing attacks from hackers. As a result, you may want to turn off WPS in certain cases. Below, we’ll cover how to disable WPS as well as the benefits and drawbacks of keeping WPS active.
How to Activate/Deactivate WPS
There are two ways to manually enable and disable WPS.
If your router allows you to deactivate WPS, you should be able to do so by using your router’s web-based configuration interface:
1. To start, open your browser.
2. Navigate to your router’s web-based configuration interface. You can typically do this by entering your router’s IP address into your browser’s address bar.
To find your IP address, follow the instructions here.
Each router manufacturer has its own configuration interface, meaning the next part of the process for deactivating WPS can vary from router to router. In most cases, however, you should be able to turn off WPS using the settings in the menu or Wi-FI Protected Setup or WPS tab.
On a Belkin router, for example, the WPS section will be listed under “Wireless” on the main interface’s sidebar. From there, deactivating WPS is as simple as switching from “Enabled” to “Disabled” using the drop-down menu.
If you’re unsure whether or not your router has WPS activated – or includes WPS to begin with – you should also be able to tell from this interface.
With some routers, you’ll also be able to manually enable or disable WPS with a button on the back of the router.
Some routers don’t allow users to deactivate WPS. In cases like these, you won’t find a button that can deactivate WPS or a setting on your router’s configuration interface. If you want to turn WPS off, your only option may be switching to another router.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Using WPS
The biggest benefit of leaving WPS active is convenience. With WPS on, you can connect any device to your router without needing your router’s ID or its password. This can save you a little bit of time when connecting new devices and will also allow you to connect devices whether or not you remember your router’s password.
However, WPS also presents a pretty serious security risk that can’t really be avoided. While WPS is on, hackers can guess your router’s password repeatedly until they get it right. If you haven’t already taken steps to improve your router security, your router can be especially vulnerable.
Once a hacker has your password, they’ll have access to your Internet connection, which they can use for just about anything they want, until you reset your router’s password.
If you want to use WPS, you should weigh the amount of time it may save against the potential headache posed by a successful attack on your router.
When to Use WiFi Protected Setup
The answer is, you shouldn’t even consider using it. WPS presents some pretty serious security risks. In general, it’s a good idea to switch this setting off, unless you really need the convenience that it provides.