A Router Password,
Q. I recently received help from a tech-support desk for our modem/router. The technician needed the modem password to resolve the problem, and at the end of the session he suggested I change it to something "easy to remember." Should I be concerned that the help desk technician knows the password? Should I change it?
A. Routers often come with default user names and passwords -- often the generic "admin" and "password." If you have not changed the router's information since you first installed the device, it is a good idea to do so right away. The default user names and passwords from major companies are fairly well known, which means intruders could easily gain access to your router and network.
Your service provider or router manufacturer should have specific instructions for changing the default user name and password in the setup guide or on the company Web site, along with other information about the router. Many routers broadcast the generic wireless network name (also known as the SSID, or Service Set Identifier) and you may want to change that as well. The out-of-the-box setting often contains the brand name and makes it easier for someone to guess the router's default password if it has not been changed.
If you already changed the router's information and are worried about the support technician knowing the password, just change it again. Simple passwords are easier to crack, so use a strong password -- preferably one with a mix of letters, capital letters and numbers. Write down the new password and put it in a safe place so you can find it the next time you need to change it.
Over the Web
Q. How are these services like Aereo that stream broadcast television signals over the Internet actually legal?
A. Aereo says it uses arrays of tiny TV antennas assigned to each one of its users to create a unique copy of a broadcast on its servers. The company claims that viewing or recording a show over the Internet that was captured with this method is a private transmission and legally the same as someone using a rooftop antenna to pull in an over-the-air broadcast signal.
Despite the tiny-antenna defense, several major television companies have filed copyright-violation lawsuits against Aereo, and the legal battles continue. Aereo, however, is working to expand its $8 monthly service to new cities and subscribers around the country.
Another live-television streaming service called FilmOn faces similar legal challenges from broadcasting companies. Both services received increased attention recently in cities where Time Warner Cable dropped the CBS network during a contract dispute -- a move that had some viewers looking for alternative methods like indoor antennas and computer TV tuner cards to view CBS shows.
TIP OF THE WEEK Listening to an iTunes playlist while working on the computer can be relaxing -- and you can even control some of the program's playback functions without having to click back on the window. Both Mac OS X and Windows provide controls right from the Dock or Taskbar.
When iTunes is running in the background in OS X, right-click on its icon in the Mac's Dock (or press and hold the left mouse button) to see a menu of playback controls like Pause, Repeat, Shuffle, Next and Previous, as well as the name of the track currently playing.
In Windows 7 and Windows 8, a miniature version of the iTunes window (with Previous, Play/Pause and Next buttons) appears when you move the mouse cursor over the iTunes icon in the taskbar. Right-clicking the iTunes taskbar icon brings up a menu with options like Recently Played Tracks and a Shuffle command. J. D. BIERSDORFER
Personal Tech invites questions about computer-based technology to QandA @nytimes.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.