How To Hack WiFi Passwords
“What’s your WiFi password?” This is one of the commonly asked questions of visitors trying to connect to your WiFi at home, or of someone visiting a cafe or restaurant and trying to access an internet connection; although, this question is not just limited to these places given the massive importance that people place on WiFi these days.
The problem is, if there’s a lock next to the network name (AKA the SSID, or service set identifier), that indicates security is activated. Without a password or passphrase, you’re not going to get access to that network, or the sweet, sweet internet that goes with it.
WiFi is a term given to a wireless network that utilizes radio frequency signals to connect the internet between devices. Since its development in 1997, it has played an integral role in the modern and technological world that we live in today.
Pretty much everybody with Internet service uses a WiFi network to share that service to all the devices in their home or workplace.
The vast majority of WiFi networks are password-protected. However, for the sake of convenience, manufacturers have created several ways for a guest user to get onto the network without knowing a password. In this article, we will detail several of these methods and walk you through getting connected to WiFi without the password.
This trick works to recover a Wi-Fi network password (AKA network security key) only if you’ve previously attached to the Wi-Fi in question using that very password. In other words, it only works if you’ve 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, so this won’t work. But most people never explicitly do that.
It requires that you go into a Windows Command Prompt with administrative privileges. Use Cortana to search for “cmd” and the menu will show Command Prompt; right-click that entry and select “Run as administrator.” That’ll open the black box full of text with the prompt inside—it’s the line with a > at the end, probably something like C:\WINDOWS\system32>. A blinking cursor will indicate where you type.
Type this:netsh wlan show profile
The results will bring up a section called User Profiles—those are all the Wi-Fi networks (aka WLANs, or wireless local area networks) you’ve 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.”
Type this:netsh wlan show profile name=”XXXXXXXX” key=clear
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.
Type this:security find-generic-password -wa XXXXX
WPS which stands for WiFi Protected is a security standard that functions on networks using the WPA Personal or WPA2 Personal security protocols. Stripped of the technobabble, WPS means that if a WiFi router is located in a place that is physically accessible to guests, the guest can create a network connection to the router by pushing a button on the router, rather than by entering a password.
Since people outside the building or set of rooms don’t have physical access to the router, they have no way of stealing WiFi service; only people you have invited in will be able to get onto your WiFi network.
- Launch the “Settings” app from the Home screen.
- Navigate to the network and internet settings section.
- Tap “WiFi”.
- Tap the WiFi settings tab or menu.
- Tap the “Advanced” button.
- Tap the “Connect by WPS Button” option.
A dialog should open telling you to push the WPS button on the router. You have about 30 seconds to do this before the WPS handshake protocol will shut down and you’ll have to repeat this step. Push the WPS button; it is usually very clearly labeled with “WPS”.
Your phone will automatically connect to the WiFi network, and you shouldn’t have to repeat these steps unless you tell your device to forget about this WiFi connection.For some routers, there is a WPS PIN instead of a button; you’ll need to tap that option in your Internet settings and then enter the PIN, which is usually found on a sticker on the router.
Unfortunately, Apple basically refuses to support the WPS standard and Androiddid away with the option in the Android 9 updates. This basically means that our newer techwon’t have this as an option.
Another option for sharing WiFi connectivity with guests without the hassle of passwords is for you, as the network administrator, to set up a guest network on your router. Nearly all modern routers support the guest network feature, and you can leave the password blank on the guest network (or have a very simple password which 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 in proximity to people. It’s probably fine for your mountaintop cabin, however. Guest networks will work for any device type.
Follow these steps to set up a guest network on your router:
- Open your computer’s browser and paste your router’s IP address into the address bar. Commonly, the address will be either 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1. The IP address is almost always printed somewhere on your router.
- Use your administrator credentials to log into the router.
- Once you’ve logged in, you’ll need to locate the “Guest Network” option. You are likely to find it in the “Wireless Settings” section.
- Find and enable “Guest Network”.
- Next, name your guest network (enter its SSID – we recommend using the regular network name and adding “- Guest”) and set the password. You can opt for something as simple as “Ourhouse” or “guest-password”. You can also leave it blank.
- Click the “Save” button to confirm the settings and create the network.
- Connect to WiFi
- 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.
You didn’t 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, brings you a lot of links—mostly for software on sites where the adware and bots and scams are just too much. 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.
You could create a system just for this kind of thing, maybe dual-boot into a separate operating systemthat can do what’s 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.
Kali Linux is free and comes with all the tools you’d need to crack a network. It even comes as an app for Windows 10 in the Windows App Store.
If you don’t want to install a whole OS, then try the tried-and-true tools of Wi-Fi hackers.
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. You’ll 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 it’s only going to work if the router you’re going after has both a strong signal and WPS(Wi-Fi Protected Setup) turned on.
If you prefer a graphical user interface (GUI), there is KisMAC for macOS. It’s mainly known as a “sniffer” for seeking out Wi-Fi networks. It’s the kind of thing we don’t need much of these days since our phones and tablets do the job of showing every Wi-Fi signal in the air. However, it can crack some keys with the right adapter installed.
Also on the Mac: Wi-Fi Crack. To use those, or Aircrack-ng on the Mac, you need to install them using MacPorts, a tool for installing command-line products on the Mac.