Have you ever tried to unsuccessfully guess a business’s Wi-Fi password? Did you ever wish you had the hacking skills to get past a stubborn Wi-Fi password?
If so, then I’m here to help. The tips we’ve listed here won’t work on all Wi-Fi routers. However, they can be used by anyone regardless of their technical experience – so even if you’re an idiot with computers, you might still be able to access someone’s Wi-Fi.
Oh, and for the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume you’re trying to get a Wi-Fi password for a perfectly legal and legitimate reason – like, say, if you forgot your own home’s Wi-Fi.
Start by Downloading a Wi-Fi Finder App
There are plenty of Wi-Fi finder apps available for iOS and Android. Wi-Fi Map is one popular version available for free on both mobile operating systems. It features over 100 million (!) accessible Wi-Fi hotspot locations around the world.
Many of these hotspot locations are free. Others are free but are locked behind a password, and you can use the app to get that password. You can also view users’ comments on different Wi-Fi networks.
Are you working at a major office building but can’t connect to the Wi-Fi? Wi-Fi finder apps might have it. Download Wi-Fi Map or another Wi-Fi finder app and see if your targeted network is listed.
Use Windows Commands to Recover a Password
Did you connect to a network, then forget the password? It’s happened to all of us. Fortunately, Windows creates a profile of every Wi-Fi network you’ve ever connected to. With a few simple Windows commands, you can recover that profile and find the unencrypted password.
Obviously, this only works if you’ve previously connected to the Wi-Fi in question. However, it will also work on someone else’s computer – so if your friend is out of the room and you want their Wi-Fi password, you can run the command on their computer without triggering suspicion.
In any case, use Cortana to search for the word cmd. You’ll see the Command Prompt application on the menu. Right-click on that command prompt, then click Run as administrator.
Once you see the black box full of text, start typing the following commands:
netsh wlan show profile
Press enter after typing in that command. You’ll see a section called User Profiles. These include all the Wi-Fi networks (also known as WLANs or wireless local area networks) you’ve ever accessed and saved. Scroll through until you see the network you’re targeting, then highlight it and copy it. Go back to the blinking cursor and type the following line:
Netsh wlan show profile name=” XXXXXXXX” key=clear
Press enter, and you should see more information about that network. Check under the Security Settings subheading for the line “Key Content”. The word or passcode displayed here is the Wi-Fi password for the network.
Factory Reset your Router
Every router has a factory reset button. You can press this button to reset the router and your entire wireless network, including any passwords that have been setup. This isn’t the same as turning your router off and on. Pick up your router and look for a recessed reset button. You may need to use a pen or unfolded paperclip to press it.
Obviously, this step requires physical access to the router.
Before you reset your router, check all sides of the router for a sticker. In many cases, your ISP – or even the user – has left a note or sticker with the password on it.
Ultimately, if you have physical access to the router, then “hacking” the Wi-Fi password is easy. After the router resets, just open your internet browser and navigate to 192.168.1.1 or 192.168.0.1, then enter the default username and password and setup a new password for your WLAN. If that doesn’t work, change the third number (the 1 or 0) to any number between 2 and 9, and try until you get it right.
To find the default username and password for a router, check a list like http://www.routerpasswords.com/
Try Default Router and Wi-Fi Passwords
The default router passwords can work on a surprising number of routers. If they don’t work, try common combinations like the person’s name or city to gain access to the wireless network.
We’ve also seen a trend where local ISPs will have a predictable password generating pattern when setting up a new router’s WLAN.
For example, one local ISP in my town sets up routers using the following formula:
In this formula, the ISP uses your first name, the “315” is the street number of your house, and the exclamation point is just added for “extra security”. I didn’t realize this was a trend until my friend gave me his Wi-Fi password and I realized how similar it was to another friend’s…
Download Hacking Software
You didn’t come to this article to learn how to reset routers and tinker with admin settings.
If you want to genuinely hack someone’s password on their wireless internet, you can find plenty of shady tools available for download online. Many of these tools are spyware, malware, or brutal viruses. The best tip I can give you is to use an old computer to run these tools. Some of them genuinely work – but it’s too risky to run on your main computer.
More legitimate software includes Aircraft-ng, described as a “set of tools for auditing wireless networks”. It’s popular among legitimate network admins, who can use it to crack WEP and WPA-PSK keys.
Other similar Wi-Fi hacking tools include KisMAC-ng (available for Mac OS) or Wi-Fi Crack, also available on Mac.
If you want to brute force your way past a Wi-Fi router’s password, then use Reaver-wps, a brute force hacking tool that requires basic command line familiarity in order to use. It will try every password combination over 2 to 10 hours before eventually revealing the password.
Using the tips above, you can “hack” Wi-Fi passwords with no hacking experience required!