Tips for Securing Your Home Router
Seemingly minor and easily overlooked settings can still have profound security implications. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your wired or wireless home router — and by extension, your network — is as secure as possible.
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Some ISPs (most notably MediaOne) use your NIC's MAC address to
authenticate your service. When you change the computer that you
have connected to your cable modem service, you usually have to call up
Tech Support and give them the MAC address of the NIC in the new
machine. Since hardware routers have the equivalent of a NIC
on their WAN port in order to connect to your cable modem, you would have
to do the same thing if you're installing a router.
Recently, however, some ISPs have started to recognize the MAC
addresses of popular routers and disconnect service if a router is
detected. Fortunately, many router manufacturers are including the
capability to either set the router WAN port MAC address to anything you
want, or copy it from a computer connected to the router LAN side.
You can check the Router comparison chart under "Mac addr.
clone" to see which routers support this feature. Then consult
the router's documentation for directions on using the feature.
If you use the feature, make sure you copy the MAC address from the
computer that was used when your cable modem service was installed.
You can find the MAC address by using the winipcfg command in Win95
& 98, ipconfig command in Win NT, and the Info Button on the TCP/IP
Control Panel on a MacOS machine. Look for "Adapter
Address", "MAC address", "Hardware Address", or a
number containing six pair of Hexadecimal digits such as: 03-EF-DF-5D-3E-23.
After you set the new address, you'll probably need to power down your
router, power cycle your cable modem, then power up your router in order
to properly connect to your ISP.