Why does my CenturyLink say weak security?

If you see a weak security notification, it means you have not configured your CenturyLink router correctly. It will do so through a new feature in the iOS 14 that displays the message if your wireless security is out-of-date, which is an indicator that your router has always had weak security and you are just knowing about it at that moment.

If you are a user of an Actiontec or Zyxel CenturyLink modem, you may see a ‘weak security’ notification at times when connecting an Apple device or iPhone to your Wi-Fi network, especially if it uses iOS 14 and above. This message appears mainly because the iOS system notices your network security settings are not set to WPA3 OR WPA2 (AES). Fortunately, there are methods you can use to increase your wireless security.

 

First, a breakdown of how Wi-Fi works

Before getting into problem solving methods, it helps to understand how Wi-Fi connections operate, and what makes securing them so important.

Although a Wi-Fi connection is ‘wireless’, the connection still comes to your home through a series of either fiber-optic or copper wire lines. These lines will connect to a jack, then an Ethernet cable connects the jack to your modem in your router. The signals will then become wireless when the router broadcasts them in form of radio waves.

The wireless connection can come in two forms – an unsecured network or a secure one. If your network can only be accessed through a password, it is a secure network type, while unsecured networks can be accessed by anyone within the network without a password. The encryption style influences your security levels, so some guidelines to choose a security option are:

  • WPA2 (AES) – this allows for the widest compatibility, as it connects to both legacy and current devices while still ensuring the connection between the devices and router is secure.
  • WPA3 (WPA2/WPA3 mixed) – this is also good, although the WPA3 standard is quite recent in its introduction and was not a requirement on routers until 2020, so you may not find it on older routers.

These passwords are of two types: the router or admin password that allows you to access all the router settings through a special URL, and a network or Wi-Fi password that allows devices in your network to connect to it.

Most CenturyLink modems will include wireless security settings as a default, which requires you to provide a password to access the network. However, chances are that these default settings are inadequate when ensuring maximum security, although many people do not know it and still use the default admin settings. This means unauthorized people have an easier time accessing and interfering with your router, exposing your sensitive information and compromising your data.

There are basic steps you can take to improve the basic security levels of your home Wi-Fi network, which we will outline below.

Security measure
Why you should do it
Renaming the network
All devices broadcasting wireless connections have service set identifiers, also known as network SSIDs. The names are usually generic and preset, making it easy for hackers to target them.

Always aim to update the network name to a unique identifier, such as a personalized name, without leaving ties to your password.
Change the password
This will encrypt the network, with the best security standard being WPA2 that requires all devices to join the network with a password, or WPA3 if it is available.
Raise a firewall
Firewalls are software or hardware systems that block out specific types of data from accessing or leaving your wireless network. While the router includes a default firewall, it can also be turned off by default during the set up process, so ensure you create your unique firewall to safeguard your data.
Other measures to take
Regularly updating the router firmware, setting up a guest network for visiting family and friends to use the internet from, and disabling the WPS button functionality temporarily if you are worried about your WPS security.
 

How to know if the ‘weak security’ message is legitimate

  • To verify if you are getting a legitimate message, check your phone settings, and select Wi-Fi.
  • Tap on the ‘i’ (information) symbol next to the Wi-Fi connection with the weak security rating.
  • The screen should display a message outlining the network security type, as well as notifying you that you need to change its configuration to a WPA2 (AES) or WPA3 type.

If this is the case, you will need to check if your devices have the latest updates in their software and apps, which you can verify by checking their settings. Additionally, you should also ensure your router is updated to the latest firmware by visiting the router manufacturer’s website and checking your model.

 

Resolving the error message

Depending on the specific router modem, the modem user interface may be slightly different in these steps.

Steps that apply to both Zyxel and Actiontec modems

  1. Connect any of your devices like a tablet or computer to the internet through an Ethernet cable connected to your modem or through Wi-Fi.
  2. Open a web browser (preferably Chrome) and on its web address field, type http://192.168.0.1.
  3. Log into the settings interface of the modem (Modem GUI) through your Admin Password and Username.
  4. Click on ‘Wireless Setup’.

If you are using a Zyxel modem

  1. Once you click on ‘Wireless Setup’, click on ‘Wireless Security’ on the left side of the screen
  2. Choose the ‘WPA2 – Personal’ option from its ‘Security Type’ dropdown menu. You may not see this option if you are using an older router modem, so if this is the case, select ‘WPA – Personal’ instead.
  3. Save your changes by clicking ‘Apply’. This should remove the warning message, as you have upgraded your security.

If you are using an Actiontec modem

  1. After clicking on ‘Wireless Setup’, the user interface should show a ‘Basic Wireless Setup’ screen
  2. On its ‘Security Type’ dropdown menu, choose ‘WPA2 – Personal’. If you are using an older router modem, choose ‘WPA – Personal’ instead.
  3. Save the changes by clicking on ‘Apply’. This should remove the warning message.

 

Conclusion

If you implement these changes and still get an error message, it is helpful to talk to CenturyLink’s technical support team as this may indicate a bigger problem.

 

FAQs

Why does my CenturyLink say weak security?

This is mainly because your router does not use the latest security settings in its encryption configuration.

How can I make my CenturyLink router more secure?

The best step is changing your router’s network name, as well as changing the password of both the router and network into unique entries that make the work harder for potential hackers.

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