If you subscribe to Verizon FiOS and have had your existing subscription since 2009 or before, your wireless network/security may be *extremely* vulnerable to hackers. If your subscription is newer than 2009, you’re probably fine, but keep reading to ensure your router is up to date in the latest security standards. Here’s why:

Verizon’s wireless routers have a major security flaw. The WEP password is not a randomly generated password. In fact, it’s created using two pieces of information readily accessible by someone in range of the router’s wireless signal. All they need is the SSID (i.e. TIXK7; this will always be 5 characters) and the MAC address (can be obtained through a simple command on a computer or mobile device). Once the hacker gets these two items — which can take a matter of minutes — all they need to do is some basic math and they have your default router password.

People are smart, and a kid most likely around the age of 18 created a simple little tool that could be used to calculate the default password. His tool spread across the internet and accrued several variations. I’ve created a simple one myself and put it here. Go ahead and check it out, I can assure you it’s completely secure. No information is stored, it just calculates your WEP key with a simple algorithm and then outputs it into the text boxes. Calculation is completely client-side and done by your browser.

If you’ve left your wireless router untouched since 2009 and the key to access it is still the same, we recommend you change the password immediately. Instead of just changing the key though, change the encryption as well. WEP is an extremely vulnerable encryption method that can be (you guessed it) easily hacked with a simple piece of software.

Luckily, your router does support a more secure level of encryption. While it’s not the latest level, it’ll do the trick to thwart any would-be hackers in your neighborhood. Ironically enough, Verizon has provided instructions to switch your router over to this level of encryption. Keep in mind that you’ll have to reconnect wireless devices to your network when you do this, so it might be best to follow these instructions from a device directly connected (via ethernet cable) to your router.

Instructions can be found here:

http://www.verizon.com/support/residential/internet/fiosinternet/networking/setup/actiontecmi424/125511.htm#

In today’s modern world, your wireless router should support WPA2 encryption. This is the current and most advanced form of encryption in existence. Please check to make sure this is the level of encryption that your router is currently using. If not, inquire with the router’s manufacturer or your ISP as to how you can set this level of encryption. If it’s not support on your generation of router, ask if WPA is supported. Avoid using WEP at all costs.