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How to Make Your Verizon FIOS Router 1000% More Secure

If you’ve just switched to Verizon FIOS and they’ve installed the new router in your house, there’s just one problem: it’s set to use lousy WEP encryption by default, instead of the much more secure WPA2. Here’s how to fix it.

The problem with WEP encryption is that it can be cracked really easily—a skilled hacker can do it in a few minutes, and even an unskilled geek can do it in just a little more time with the right tools. Once they’ve done that, they can leech off your internet connection and do anything they want—including illegal stuff coming from your network.

Note: if you are using an old Nintendo DS connected to the internet, they usually only support WEP encryption, so you may not want to do this.

How to Enable WPA2 Encryption on a Verizon FIOS Router

Once you’ve logged into your router—if you don’t know the password, see our article on how to reset it to the default—go to the Wireless Settings icon.

Next you’ll want to head to Advanced Security Settings, and then click on the WPA2 option.

As soon as you click the WPA2 radio button, you’ll be taken to the screen where you can enter more details about the encryption—like the all-important shared key. Make sure it’s something long, like a full sentence, which is easy to remember, but much harder to be cracked with a brute force attack.

Note: if you were connected to the router over your Wi-Fi connection, it’s going to immediately disconnect you, and you’re going to have to connect to the network again using the new password.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 12/18/10

Comments (16)

  1. bkj216

    Don’t forget switching your DNS Servers to something like OpenDNS, Google DNS, or ClearCloud DNS. Any one of those goes a long way toward making your internet more secure, more safe, and more reliable

  2. Troy

    I heard having just a MAC filter is just as good as WEP. is that true?

  3. DevilDog

    I’ve been contemplating getting FIOS, but want to use my own firewall (Smoothwall) as opposed to their device, anyone have any experience with this or a similar setup?

  4. Steve Stone

    I have to run WEP. That is the only mode my 5 year old Toshiba DVD burning TIVO with free lifetime sub supports. I am not too concerned about it because I live in a rural area. You would have to park in my driveway to to get a strong enough 802.11G signal from my router, and my rottie would not give you enough time to open your laptop and start cracking. OpenDNS and alike are not the end all in DNS servers. Many times services like OpenDNS interfere with home office VPN connections to corporate Intranet sites.
    What I am more concerned about is default firewall settings for wired and wireless connections.
    Turn it up to max protection and spend some time adding exceptions. Paranoid about wireless WEP connections? Lock down wireless access based on the MAC, don’t allow file sharing from wireless devices, don’t broadcast the SSID, limit the total amount of wireless connections to your router.

  5. JB12

    Is WPA2 required to use the 802.11n on a Mac? I have the router on WEP settings currently, but defaults to G mode and not N mode.

    The reason I’m asking this, is that when I use Windows via Bootcamp, it picks up the N mode and not the G mode, while on WEP password-protection.

  6. xdreamwalker

    We are using WPA in our house, which works well for everything except that Nintendo DS. I’ve kind of gotten around that by using a Virtual wireless interface to set up a second AP on the router. I have it MAC restricted to just the DS too.

  7. Alcheese

    I just piggyback my Linksys on that piece of crap they gave me. The only drawback I can see is sharing media with your computer. They have to be on the same network.

  8. Megan Lembach

    I moved to WPA2 and couldn’t get the PS3 or the Wii to connect online. Finally reverted back to WEP. Not thrilled, but couldn’t find anything online about to fix this. (I have found that the Apple products connect better when you use capitals for the alpha part of the code.)

  9. Ann

    Which brings up another question. Should I turn off the firewalls in Norton Internet Security and Windows firewall when using WPA2 on my Linksys. Isn’t the router firewall better?

  10. langis

    need help

  11. The Geek

    @Troy

    Mac filters are worthless from a security standpoint as they are easy to bypass. All they do is add annoyance to your network.

  12. Johnny B.

    I love this website. Alot of good technical advice, especially with programs and such. I recently downloaded Sandiebox. I was wondering about something that Ihave no info for with Sandie box. Basically is Sandiebox open to the ISP provider, or is it sealed to outside monitors? I had a nasty threat from our ISP recently when I was using a download website to watch a movie. I no longer use the bit torrent site because I dont have my own ISP, it is shared with me by its owner, and I dont want to abuse a priviledge, I didn’t collect Sandiebox for this reason, But after hearing its intent to prevent anything from entering my computer- sweet virus protection device huh?- I wondered if the ISP still gets my usage? Are they in or out of the loop when Sandiebox is running? Interesting topic? anybody know?

  13. Scott

    What about connecting the Wii and DS? The DS still only supports WEP as far as I know.

  14. etown250

    what i did was not broadcast, this seem to work for me.

  15. Todd

    @Scott, et all: Nintendo DSi supports WPA2 – Time to upgrade those gaming systems. ;)

  16. Susan

    @ann Ann, I just happen to be suing this article to FINALLY upgrade my Wi=Fi security on my Verizon router =( and I noticed your question of Dec, 2010, so I don’t even know if you will ever get to see this answer! But- regarding your router’s firewall being ENOUGH and not needing Windows firewall or even your anti-virus’ (Norton) firewall (which BTW, you NEVER should use both at the same time (Windows & Norton’s or any other firewall-rule is ONE firewall running at ONE TIME on ONE computer!)…well, it is MY UNDERSTANDING and I am sure it is correct, but the firewall on the router and firewall you run on the computer (Windows OR Norton’s)are 2 separate entities and you need BOTH! In other words, use either the Windows firewall OR the firewall that came with Norton AV AND, of course, the router’s firewall. The router’s firewall protects your signal and the firewalls on your computer protect your files and computer itself from hacking efforts. I hope this explains it all to you, Anne, and that I haven’t confused you even more! LOL Good Luck! =)

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