Locking down a Linksys router in 10 Steps

  1. Log in to your router and enter the default password. The version of the firmware or the router that you are using will determine where the Change Password button is located. Make sure you find it. This is the single most important step. Change the default password and choose a password that contains both numbers and letters. This will reduce the possibility of your password being guessed or hacked.
  2. Configure your DHCP settings with only the number of computers that need Internet access. For example, if you have five computers, configure DHCP to hand out only five addresses.
  3. To further secure your router with DHCP, find out the MAC address of each computer and configure DHCP to assign leases to specific MAC addresses only. If you run an ipconfig /all (from the Windows command line) on each computer, you can obtain the MAC address. It is listed as the "Physical Address" and will have a format that looks like this: 00-50-56-X0-00-08.
  4. On a regular basis, visit the Linksys Web site to make sure you have the latest version of firmware for your router.
  5. Your router has a setting to Block WAN Requests from the outside. You should keep this setting enabled because it hides your IP address from the rest of the world.
  6. Within the router settings, you can Enable Remote Upgrade and Remote Administration of your Linksys router. To limit the risk of attack, make sure these settings are disabled.
  7. Enable Logging for outgoing and incoming URLs or IP addresses for your Internet connection. On a regular interval, review these logs for suspicious activity.
  8. Once you have enabled logging in step #7, download the Linksys LogViewer for easier administration of your incoming and outgoing logs. Remember to purge the logs on a regular interval to keep them manageable.
  9. Once you have followed the above steps and hardened the settings on your router, visit Shields UP and run its battery of tests to check how secure your router looks to the outside world.
  10. Don't rely on the Linksys router as your only means of defense. Install a desktop firewall on each PC that's connected to the Internet through the Linksys router. A free and effective desktop firewall is Zone Alarm. Furthermore, it is important to keep the desktop firewall up to date with the latest version in order to remain secure in the future.