Why changing your Wi-Fi password is so important to online security

Take a few minutes to change your Wi-Fi password to something more secure and different than the default password

Don't rely on simple, easily guessable passwords for your home Wi-Fi network. Pick something a little more complex that no one should be able to guess.

For many people, being hacked is their worst technology nightmare. But the truth is, most personal data breaches and identity thefts aren’t the work of an unkempt computer ninja furiously typing away in a shadowy bunker. They’re committed by opportunists who manage to guess weak passwords, exploit typos in programming, or trick folks into exposing their own info. In some ways, it’s not the computer that’s being hacked – it’s the user.

That’s why it’s so important to frequently change your passwords, and to keep them private. In general, people are getting better about changing their login info for websites and online services. But it’s easy to forget about the most obvious password of all: the one on your home Wi-Fi network.

Most Wi-Fi routers, including Viasat’s, come with a preset network name (SSID) and password. These are not meant to be permanent! If you value your sanity and security, you should change that password as soon as possible. Then change it again every 90 days or so. This will help you avoid security problems large (folks spying on your internet use) and small (your neighbor streaming Netflix over your Wi-Fi without permission).

How to update your Wi-Fi network’s password

  1. Open the Wi-Fi menu on your device (sometimes called network preferences, network settings, etc. on different devices) and locate your Viasat modem’s Wi-Fi network. Make sure you’re connected. If you’re still using the factory preset login, you can find your default network name and Wi-Fi password printed on the sticker on your modem. (Tip: Take a picture of it with your smartphone so you can read the tiny numbers.)
  2. Type 192.168.100.1 into your browser address bar and press Enter. When the page loads, click on the “WiFi Settings” button at the top of the window.
  3. Log in to your router setup dashboard using the following information, depending on which Viasat modem you have:
  4. Choose a new password as shown, depending on which Viasat modem you have: The password should be hard for a stranger to guess, but something you can remember. If you like, you can also rename your Wi-Fi network.The newer Wireless Gateway Modem broadcasts on two bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. If you use this modem, you should set both of the bands to have the same network name and password. This will allow your devices to switch back and forth depending on which band is faster at a given time.
  5. Before you save any changes, make sure to write down your new network name(s) and password. You will need them to connect other devices to your Wi-Fi network.
  6. Save your new settings by clicking the green Save button at the bottom of the settings page. Because you’re connected via Wi-Fi, your device will disconnect from the network at this point. Why? Because you just changed the password (and possibly the network name), and the password your device was using before is now incorrect.
  7. To reconnect, just return to the Wi-Fi settings menu, pick your Wi-Fi network from the list (using the new name you gave your network, if you changed it) and enter the new password.

That’s it! You’ve taken a big step toward keeping your home network secure and private. Put a reminder on your calendar to change it again in about 3 months for extra security.

Matt Farley
About Matt Farley 5 Articles
Matt Farley is a social media specialist with Viasat. A former pop culture journalist, he has covered subjects ranging from internet policy to punk rock music.