Using WPS to Connect Without a Password
WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup. WPS is an older technology that functions on networks using the WPA Personal or WPA2 Personal security protocol. WPS has been replaced with DPP (Device Provisioning Protocol), as discussed in the next section.
Note: Android 10 and above use the more secure DPP Wi-Fi connection (Wi-Fi Easy Connect™) rather than WPS. This section of the article was preserved for older devices that use WPS.
Stripped of the technobabble, WPS means that if a Wi-Fi router resides in a place that is physically accessible to guests, they can create a network connection to the router by pushing a button on the device rather than entering a password. You generally didn’t have access to the routers in a public location, but you COULD use WPS in a residential setting, assuming the tenant or homeowner let you “touch” their router.
WPS was a prevalent method of connecting guest users in a home or small office environment. Since people outside the building or in a set of rooms didn’t have physical access to the router, they had no way of surreptitiously stealing Wi-Fi service. Only people you invited in were able to get onto your Wi-Fi network without a password. It is far easier to tap a button on the router’s control panel than enter a 16-digit random security code on a smartphone’s tiny keyboard.
Using WPS is very simple. Generally, all you need to do is ensure you have the correct settings on your smartphone (Android 9 or earlier) or another guest device and ensure you can access the router physically. Here’s how to do it.
Note: The exact steps may vary slightly depending on your operating system and version.
Note: For some routers, there is a WPS PIN instead of a button. You’ll need to tap that option in your Internet settings and enter the PIN, usually found on a sticker under the router.
WPS was a convenient and practical method of connecting to a Wi-Fi network without a password. However, it was prone to password and SSID hacking, mostly from hacked Internet of Things (IoT) devices and brute force on the PIN. Apple refused to support the WPS standard, and Android did away with the option in the Android 9 updates. This statement means that our newer tech won’t have this as an option. Of course, you already read some of that above.
Using DPP/Wi-Fi Easy Connect™ to Connect to Routers without a Password
Android 10 and above replaced WPS with DPP security connections, which produces a tighter seal on data transmission and allows more effortless device connectivity to networks and routers without having a password. Today, you may know this type of connection as “Wi-Fi Easy Connect™,” which utilizes the DPP connectivity rather than WPS.
Note: Wi-Fi Easy Connect is NOT the same as Wi-Fi Direct, which links devices to each other as a network.
DPP and Wi-Fi Easy Connect™ Features:
To better understand the technology, you connect your smartphone to the router, then use the phone as a configurator that connects other devices to the network. Then, all connected devices link to the router and get internet and a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) connection. Your phone serves as the assistant to link devices to the network, and more than one device can become a configurator.
Here’s how to use DPP to connect to routers without having a password.
That’s it! Your device handles the rest. You now have a connection to the network and possibly an internet connection if present. Any new device scans a QR code and automatically connects too.
Router Guest Mode Without a Password
Another option for sharing Wi-Fi connectivity with guests involves setting up an unsecured guest network on your router. This process is undoubtedly not the best option (security dangers) due to the lack of encrypted data transmission and open connectivity, but it works. To set up a guest network on your router, you must be a network administrator. Nearly all modern routers support the guest network feature, and you can leave the password blank on the guest network (or have an elementary password that is easily entered and shared).
The downside of a guest network with no password or an easily guessed trivial password is that it is not very secure if you are close to other people. It’s probably fine for your mountaintop cabin or your second home on Mars, however. Guest networks will work for any device type.
Follow these steps to set up a guest network on your router:
One other nice feature of a guest network is that you can (via your router’s control panel software) throttle the bandwidth for the guest network so that your house guests or neighbor’s kids can’t do their 50-gigabyte torrenting on your account.
Connect to Wifi Network using WPS (Wifi Protected Setup)
WPS, short for Wifi Protected Setup, is a security standard used on networks using the WPA Personal or WPA2 Personal security protocol.
So how can this help you to connect to wifi without using password?
Well, if the wifi router is located in a place where the guest has physical access, then he/she can just push the WPS button on the router to create a network connection. There is no need to enter a password, and the guest will have instant access to the wifi.
Using WPS is one of the most common and easy to use methods for connecting to wifi as long as the guest has physical access to home or office.
As you can see, this prevents malicious users from stealing your wifi from outside, loitering around your premises. Only the people whom you have actually invited into your house and/or office can push the WPS button and access your wifi network.
But with that being said, you will need to set up a few settings on the phone or other devices to make sure they can access your wifi network via the WPS functionality. And to help you out, we have put together a step by step guide on how to set up a smartphone so it can access the WPS functionality.
So this is how you can use WPS to connect to any home or office wifi without knowing the wifi passwords. It is reliable, practical, and user friendly.
Now, with that being said, some of the steps described here might vary depending on the brand and manufacturer of your smartphone. Also, Apple devices don’t support WPS standards which means iPhone or Mac users won’t be able to use this method.
Set Up A Guest Network On Your Wifi Router
Almost all modern wifi routers come with the option to set up a dedicated guest network. This is separate from your actual wifi network, purely dedicated for your guests.
You can either set up the guest network such that it does ask for a password for wifi, or you can use a simple password like “12345678” which is easy to share.
But with that being said, if you leave your guest network with no password, rest assured that almost anyone who has access to the network will try and connect to it, which will slow down the overall network speed. You should keep this in mind when setting up a guest network.
It is most useful in closed office rooms. For example, let’s say your office space is surrounded by thick walls which makes it impossible for the wifi signals to get out. As such, you don’t have to worry about outsiders accessing your network.
In this case, you can set up a guest network without password for the clients coming to your office. And the best part is that a guest network will let all devices connect to your wifi network.
Now, here is a step by step guide to help you set up a guest network on your router.
Now you can direct your clients or friends to the guest network which they can enter without entering any passwords for wifi.
Substitute Password With a QR Code
Did you know that you can substitute your wifi password with a QR code? Now, whenever a friend, guest, or client comes over, you can simply have them scan the QR code and they will be connected to your wifi without password.
To use this method, you will first need to get the QR code representing the alphanumeric string which is your password. You can do this, by using one of the many online QR code generators like QRStuff.
With that being said, here is a step by step guide on how to use the platform to allow your guests to connect to your wifi without password.
Guests can come in, see the QR code, scan it using a QR code scanner app on their phone, and connect to your wifi. There are also plenty of QR code scanner apps that users can download from the Playstore or Appstore as well.
The only problem here is that devices without a camera won’t be able to connect to your wifi using this method.
How to connect to WiFi without knowing the password step by step.
Despite what you may believe, in some circumstances it is possible connect to WiFi without knowing passwords very easily. Below we illustrate what, in my opinion, are the fastest and most effective techniques to be able to put into practice in cases like this.
Windows Commands to Get the Key
This trick works to recover a Wi-Fi network password (AKA network security key) only if youve previously attached to the Wi-Fi in question using that very password. In other words, it only works if youve forgotten a previously used password.
It works because Windows 8 and 10 create a profile of every Wi-Fi network to which you connect. If you tell Windows to forget the network, then it also forgets the password. In that case, this wont work. But few people ever explicitly do that.
It requires that you go into a Windows Command Prompt with administrative privileges. Click the Star Menu, type “”cmd”” (no quotes), and the menu will show Command Prompt; right-click that entry and select Run as administrator. Thatll open the black box full of text with the prompt inside—its the line with a right-facing arrow at the end, probably something like C:\WINDOWS\system32\>. A blinking cursor will indicate where you type. Start with this:
The results will bring up a section called User Profiles—those are all the Wi-Fi networks (aka WLANs, or wireless local area networks) youve accessed and saved. Pick the one you want to get the password for, highlight it, and copy it. At the prompt below, type the following, but replace the Xs with the network name you copied; you only need the quotation marks if the network name has spaces in it, like “”Cup o Jo Cafe.””
In the new data that comes up, look under Security Settings for the line Key Content. The word displayed is the Wi-Fi password/key you are missing.
On macOS, open up the Spotlight search (Cmd+Space) and type terminal to get the Mac equivalent of a command prompt. Type the following, replacing the Xs with the network name.
Reset the Router
This isnt for getting on someone elses Wi-Fi in the apartment next door. You need physical access to the router for this to work. But, before you do a full router reset simply to get on your own Wi-Fi, try to log into the router first. From there, you can easily reset your Wi-Fi password/key if youve forgotten it.
Thats not possible if you dont know the password for the router. (The Wi-Fi password and router password are not the same—unless you went out of your way to assign the same password to both). Resetting the router only works if you have access via Wi-Fi (which weve just established you dont have) or physically, utilizing an Ethernet cable.
If youve got a router that came from your internet service provider (ISP), check the stickers on the unit before a reset—the ISP might have printed the SSID and network security key right on the hardware.
Or use the nuclear option: Almost every router in existence has a recessed reset button. Push it with a pen or unfolded paperclip, hold it for about 10 seconds, and the router will reset to the factory settings.
Once a router is reset, youll need that other username/password combo to access the router itself. Again, do this via a PC attached to the router via Ethernet—resetting the router probably killed any potential Wi-Fi connection for the moment. The actual access is typically done with a web browser, though many routers and mesh systems now can be controlled via an app.
Some routers may also have a sticker with that default Wi-Fi network name (SSID) and network security key (password) so you can indeed go back on the Wi-Fi after a reset.
The URL to type into the browser to access a routers settings is typically 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1, or some variation. Try them randomly; that generally works. To determine which one on a PC connected to the router via Ethernet, open a command prompt and type ipconfig. Look among the gobbledygook for an IPv4 Address, which will start with 192.168. The other two spaces, called octets, are going to be different numbers between 0 and 255. Note the third octet (probably a 1 or 0). The fourth is specific to the PC youre using to log into the router.
In the browser, type 192.168.x.1, replacing the X with the number you found in the ipconfig search. The 1 in the last octet should point at the router—its the number one device on the network. (For full details, read How to Access Your Wi-Fi Routers Settings.)
At this point, the router should then ask for that username and password (which, again, is probably not the same as the Wi-Fi SSID and network security key). Check your manual, assuming you didnt throw it away, or go to RouterPasswords.com, which exists for one reason: to tell people the default username/password on every router ever created. Youll need the routers model number in some cases, but not all.
You will quickly discern a pattern among router makers of utilizing the username of “”admin”” and a password of “”password,”” so feel free to try those first. Since most people are lazy and dont change an assigned password, you could try those options even before hitting the reset button. (But cmon, youre better than that.) Once youre in the Wi-Fi settings, turn on the wireless network(s) and assign strong-but-easy-to-recall passwords. After all, you dont want to share with neighbors without your permission.
Make that Wi-Fi password easy to type on a mobile device, too. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get a smartphone connected to Wi-Fi with some cryptic, impossible to key-in-via-thumbs nonsense, even if it is the most secure password youve ever created.
You didnt come here because the headline said “”reset the router,”” though. You want to know how to crack the password on a Wi-Fi network.
Searching on “”wi-fi password hack,”” or other variations, nets you a lot of links—mostly for software on sites where the adware and bots and scams pour like snake oil. The same goes for the many, many YouTube videos promising you ways to crack a password by visiting a certain website on your phone.
Download those programs or visit those sites at your own risk, knowing many are phishing scams at best. We recommend using a PC you can afford to mess up a bit if you go that route. When I tried it, multiple tools were thankfully outright deleted by my antivirus before I could even try to run the EXE installation file.
Recommended by Our Editors
You could create a system just for this kind of thing, maybe dual-boot into a separate operating system that can do whats called “”penetration testing””—a form of offensive approach security, where you examine a network for any and all possible paths of a breach. Kali Linux is a Linux distribution built for just that purpose. You probably saw it used on Mr. Robot. Check out the video tutorial below.
You can run Kali Linux off a CD or USB key without even installing it to your PCs hard drive. Its free and comes with all the tools youd need to crack a network. It even has an app for Windows 10 in the Windows App Store.
If you dont want to install a whole OS, then try the tried-and-true tools of Wi-Fi hackers.
Aircrack has been around for years, going back to when Wi-Fi security was only based on WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). WEP was weak even back in the day; it was supplanted in 2004 by WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access).
Aircrack-ng is labeled as a “”suite of tools to assess Wi-Fi network security,”” so it should be part of any network admins toolkit. It will take on cracking WEP and WPA-PSK keys. It comes with full documentation and is free, but its not simple.
To crack a network, you need to have the right kind of Wi-Fi adapter in your computer, one that supports packet injection. You need to be comfortable with the command line and have a lot of patience. Your Wi-Fi adapter and Aircrack have to gather a lot of data to get anywhere close to decrypting the passkey on the network youre targeting. It could take a while.
Cracking the much stronger WPA/WPA2 passwords and passphrases is the real trick. Reaver-wps is the one tool that appears to be up to the task. Youll need that command-line comfort again to work with it. After two to 10 hours of brute-force attacks, Reaver should be able to reveal a password… but its only going to work if the router youre going after has both a strong signal and WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) turned on.
WPS is the feature where you can push a button on the router and another button on a Wi-Fi device, and they find each other and link auto-magically, with a fully encrypted connection. Its the “”hole”” through which Reaver crawls.
Even if you turn off WPS, sometimes its not completely off, but turning it off is your only recourse if youre worried about hacks on your own router via Reaver. Or, get a router that doesnt support WPS.
Hacking Wi-Fi over WPS is also possible with some tools on Android, which only work if the Android device has been rooted. Check out Wifi WPS WPA Tester, Reaver for Android, or Kali Nethunter as options.
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