- A WPA2 password is a type of password used to secure wireless internet networks and prevent unauthorized access.
- WPA2 passwords should be 16 characters or longer and contain a combination of numbers, letters, and special symbols.
- WPA2 is the second generation of WPA security protocols and was introduced in 2006 to improve wireless network security.
- Before WPA2, other internet password protocols like WEP and WPA were used, but they had lower levels of encryption and were easier to hack into.
- In addition to using a WPA2 password, other ways to protect your Wi-Fi network include using a VPN, turning on your firewall and Wi-Fi encryption settings, creating a guest network, and disabling remote router access.
Sometimes, when setting up a wireless internet service at your home, you may have encountered a WPA2 password. While some people may prefer to just skip this step by not setting up a password, this leaves your setup open to hacking attempts. However, what is a WPA2 password? Why do you really need one?
In this article, we’ll go over the importance of the password and how you find it. We’ll also go over tips on how to create a strong password to help protect your personal information. Finally, we’ll look at the other types of internet password protocols and additional ways to secure your Wi-Fi network.
WPA2 Password Explained
The acronym WPA stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access. It uses the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to secure internet traffic on private wireless networks. The “2” denotes that it’s the second generation of WPA security protocols. Consumers got access to WPA2 passwords in 2006 as a way to improve security for wireless networks. With this type of internet protocol, it makes it more difficult for anyone to access your Wi-Fi without your permission.
Typically, WPA2 passwords should be 16 characters or longer. They should not be easy to guess and should contain a combination of numbers, letters, and special symbols. We’ll talk more about setting up a strong phrase later in this article.
You should always use WPA2 or better security settings to protect your data and personal information. Without it, your Wi-Fi is at risk, and anyone who joins may have access to more than you’d like them to.
The History of WPA2 and Other Internet Password Protocols
Over the years, the security measures around Wi-Fi access have increased. These increases in security protocols help keep your information safe. Since 2006, WPA2 passwords have held unauthorized users from accessing private wireless internet setups. It’s still used today as a solid preventative measure. However, before WPA2, there were other measures in place to protect networks. Let’s look at these.
The acronym WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy. The WEP is one of the most common types of Wi-Fi security. It may be so common because it’s also the first type of internet security. People use it less today because it utilizes 64-bit encryption, which is easier to hack into than future protocols.
The WPA acronym stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access. Released in 1999, it is the replacement for WEP passwords. WPA protocols use a 256-bit key encryption, which is much higher than the 64-bit WEP uses.
The acronym TKIP stands for Temporal Key Integrity Protocol. This security convention made it possible for people to join other network connections. However, these connections are made without showing unauthorized users your secure information.
The WPA2 security protocol is the first to accept human-friendly passwords. Human-friendly passwords are those that are easily read by human eyes. For example, Running2020 is a human-friendly WPA2 password. WPA2 also introduces the TKIP measure to prevent hacking attempts on WEP passwords.
As you may guess, WPA3 is the third generation of WPA. This Wi-Fi security allows for remote access, but only if you’re nearby. This NFC, or near-field communication, will enable users to tap their smartphone near the router and sign in without the need to enter any passwords themselves. WPA3 does not allow for remote access.
How to Find Your WPA2 Password
If you’ve already set up your WPA2 password but can’t remember it, you should still be able to find it. Follow these steps to find your WPA2 password.
- Open your browser. You can use Chrome, Edge, Safari, etc.
- In the internet search bar, type in your router’s IP address and select search, or hit return or enter on your keyboard.
- Log in to your router’s settings page using the Wi-Fi password. You can find this on the bottom of your router.
- Once you log in, go to Settings or Security. This label will vary by router.
- Choose the security protocol. In this case, choose WPA2.
- Your password will appear.
Here is more information on how to find your router’s IP address.
How to Find Your Wi-Fi Router Settings
When choosing your WPA2 password, it helps to make it something memorable yet hard to guess. If you’ve forgotten it, you can usually find your WPA2 password in your router’s security settings. However, you need first to find those settings.
You should be able to find your router’s URL or IP address either on the side or the bottom of your router. Your URL will be a regular web address. For example, if you have an ASUS router, your URL would be http://router.asus.com. Your IP address will be displayed in dotted-decimal format, displaying four numbers separated by periods, such as 192.168.1.1.
You can also type in cmd in the Windows search bar to open the command prompt. Then, type in ipconfig and hit enter. Scroll down until you see a setting for default gateway. This is your router, and the number next to it will be your IP address. Type your IP address in your browser’s search bar, then enter your admin credentials to access your router’s settings.
How to Create Your WPA2 Password
Some people tend to overthink — or underthink — their WPA2 passwords. On one hand, you don’t want to use something that’s easy to guess, such as your street name. On the other hand, you don’t want to make it so complicated you can’t remember it.
We suggest combining upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. Another tip is to use a mnemonic device. For example, if you’ve ever taken a music class, you may have heard the Every Good Boy Does Fine sentence as a way to remember the lines in the treble clef. The acronym EGBDF corresponds to the notes on each line.
Suppose you use something like this to remember your password. For example, let’s say your sentence is “I work for a cool boss.” Your acronym would be “IWFACB.” Combine that with numbers and symbols while using alternating upper and lower case letters to get something like IwFAcB909@. You’ll have a relatively strong password that isn’t a word and is hard to guess. It’s also a good idea to change this password regularly.
Other Ways to Protect Your Wi-Fi Connection
Aside from creating a strong password and changing it often, you can take a few other steps to help protect your data.
Use a VPN
A VPN, or virtual private network, creates a secure network between your devices and Wi-Fi. It works by masking your IP address and encrypting any data.
Turn On Your Firewall and Wi-Fi Encryption Settings
Most routers have a firewall that’s turned on automatically. Be sure to check that yours is running this security measure. The encryption will help keep eavesdroppers from accessing your to and from router and device traffic.
Create a Guest Network
The next time you have guests over and they ask for your Wi-Fi password, be sure to have a separate guest network set up. This way, they won’t unknowingly download something nefarious onto your network, putting you both at risk.
Disable Remote Router Access
Some routers allow access by anyone not directly connected to your Wi-Fi network. Be sure to check that you don’t have remote access enabled, and if you do, turn it off in your router’s settings.
Using a WPA2 Password
If you’re not using a password to protect your wireless internet, it’s strongly advised that you set one up as soon as possible. Without protection, your Wi-Fi is vulnerable to hacking attempts. Once someone has access to your Wi-Fi, they can gather your personal information and gain access to your sensitive data, including financial information.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Song_about_summer/Shutterstock.com.