Nearly 1 in 10 internet users have never changed their Wi-Fi password

Ruth C. | November 03, 2022

While protecting Wi-Fi with a password is the first step to ensuring network security, good password hygiene is also crucial. Default passwords provided by the internet service provider at the time of Wi-Fi setup are easy to guess and therefore are strongly recommended to be updated. 

Nevertheless, according to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, almost one in ten (9%) of internet users that use Wi-Fi passwords have never changed theirs. Additionally, 9% are unaware of how to.

The data is based on the survey conducted by PC Matic with approximately 2,500 individuals across the United States and featured in the 2022 Password Hygiene And Habits Report.  

While part of Wi-Fi users did update their Wi-Fi passwords, 37% have not done so since its set up. Fortunately, the number of such people has dropped by 4% since 2021. 

On the flip side, 23% change their Wi-Fi passwords annually. Meanwhile, the remaining 22% take their network security very seriously by updating their passwords every month — a 4% increase from a year before. 

Default passwords are easy to crack, and leaving one’s Wi-Fi poorly protected can have many severe consequences for the network owner.

Malicious actors can use someone’s Wi-Fi to access illegal content and do some other illicit activities. But it is the network owner that can be held accountable for all the misdemeanors of the perpetrators since any investigation would lead to the owner.

Moreover, the perpetrators can monitor the unencrypted traffic sent across the network, including personal information such as addresses, passwords, financial details, and more, which they can then use to commit fraud.

How to keep your Wi-Fi network secure

While hackers can do significant damage by hijacking your Wi-Fi network, you can take several steps to secure it and prevent the misfortune from happening. 

  1. Change your router’s admin credentials. Hackers can look up the default network name (SSID) and password that came with it. Therefore, changing them is one of the most crucial steps you can take to ensure your network’s security. Use a long password (at least eight characters) with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. Short passwords that consist of common words and basic number sequences can be broken in seconds. Additionally, whenever you create a password, use a unique one. This way, even if one of your passwords is leaked in a data breach, none of your other accounts should be affected as a result. 
  2. Keep your firmware up to date. Like any other software, the router’s firmware can contain vulnerabilities. That is why it is important to always install the latest software patches available to minimize the chances of hackers exploiting the vulnerabilities to hijack your network.
  3. Use a VPN. A virtual private network (VPN) such as Atlas VPN adds an extra layer of security between you and the internet by encrypting your traffic. So even if your connection gets intercepted, the attacker could not see your data, as it would appear in an unreadable (encrypted) form.
  4. Set up a guest network. Most routers allow you to set up a separate guest network with different login and password. This way, you can use your primary network for your trusted devices, such as your laptop or phone, and the guest network for untrusted devices belonging to your guests. Devices on the guest network cannot see or communicate with the devices on your primary network.
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Ruth C.

Ruth C.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Interested in cybercrime, online security, and privacy-related topics.



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