Securing the Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G Router

Two of the most popular posts on Technically Easy has to do with securing the Linksys WRT54G and D-Link DI-524 wireless routers. With many people using wireless routers at home, it becomes more important to secure the connection to the router form a computer. When I turn on my laptop at home, I can see at least five wireless networks (all secured).

I decided to write another “how to secure a wireless router” guide, to help those who may not have one of the two routers listed above. This guide will describe the steps you need to take to secure the Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G router. The steps required are very similar to the WRT54G, but to avoid any confusion, I created this guide.

Securing Your Wireless Router

To secure your Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G router, use the following steps:

  1. Open your Internet browser and enter the following in the address bar: http://192.168.1.1.
  2. Note:

    If you have changed the IP address of your wireless router, enter that into the address bar. By default, the address is 192.168.1.1.

  3. Enter the user ID and password for your router. If you haven’t changed it, the default password is admin. We will be changing it later if you are using the default password.
  4. The Basic Setup Web page should now be displayed in your browser. Scroll down the page until you see Maximum Number of DHCP Users.
  5. By default, many different computers (default 50) can connect to your router. We will limit the number of computers that can connect to just those computers that you use.

  6. Count the number of computers that will connect to the router, and type it into the Maximum Number of DHCP Users textbox.
  7. Scroll down to the bottom of the Web page and click Save Settings. Once the settings have been saved, click Continue to return to the Web page.
  8. At the top of the Web page, click the Administration option in the menu bar.
  9. On the Management Web page, you should see two password text boxes. This is where you should change your administrative password. Type in a new secure password into both boxes. If you need help creating a secure password, please read Creating Secure Passwords.
  10. After changing your password, click Save Settings at the bottom of the Web page.
  11. If you are prompted to login again, then enter you new password in the password field.
  12. Navigate back to the Management Web page by clicking the Administrative option in the menu.
  13. When you connect to your router wirelessly, you are doing so over an unsecured connection. To secure this connection click the HTTPS checkbox next to the Access Server option.
  14. Click the Save Settings button at the bottom of the Web page after selecting the HTTPS option.
  15. You won’t get the settings saved page again because the URL in the address bar is not longer correct. From now on, when you want to access the administrative pages of your router, you must use HTTPS instead of HTTP when specifying your router’s IP address in your browser.

  16. In your browser, change the address to: https://192.168.1.1.
  17. If you get a security error, ignore the error and continue to the Web page.

  18. Login with your password and then click the Wireless menu option.
  19. Next to the Wireless Network Name option, type in a name for your network connection.
  20. Click the Save Settings button and the Continue button to return to the Basic Wireless Settings page.
  21. Click the Wireless Security sub-menu option at the top of the page. This is where we will provide the most important security setting.
  22. Next to Security Mode, select WPA Personal from the drop-down list.
  23. Next to WPA Algorithm, select AES. If you have trouble connecting to your wireless router, select TKIP.
  24. Specify a long WPA Shared Key with a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and punctuation. Once again, please read Creating Secure Passwords for tips on how to do this. In this case the longer the better.
  25. Make sure you write down this key somewhere, either on a piece of paper or in a text document on your computer. You will need this information when you connect to your wireless network.

  26. Click the Save Settings button at the bottom of the Web page, and then the Continue button.

At this point you have secured your wireless router and network, so all you need to do is connect to your router from your computer. When prompted, enter your WPA Shared Key exactly as you specified it in the router.

Wireless Router Security Connection Questions

Question: How come we didn’t disable the SSID broadcast? Won’t that help with securing my wireless connection?

Answer: It has been mentioned many times that disabling your SSID broadcast will help secure your network. The reality is that those who attempt to get into your wireless network will be able to easily pick up or SSID whether it is broadcasted or not.

You may also have problems connecting to your wireless router if you disable the broadcasting of your SSID. I keep it enabled.

Question: Why don’t you filter who connects to your wireless router using the MAC address by turning on MAC address filtering?

Answer: This is another tip you may see on the Internet about securing your wireless network. There are a few problems with turning on the MAC address filtering.

The first problem is that a hacker can easily spoof a MAC address, and therefore bypass the MAC filtering. The second is that you need to manage the MAC addresses of all network cards attempting to connect to your router. Since it really doesn’t provide a lot of security, it is just easier to keep it turned off.

This post provided step-by-step instructions on securing your Linksys WRT54GL Wireless-G router. After following the steps, you should now be confident knowing that you have a secure wireless Internet connection.


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About Paul Salmon

Paul Salmon is the founder of Technically Easy. He is a an experienced PC user, and enjoys solving computer-related problems that he encounters on a regular basis.

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Networking, Networks, Security

91 Comments

  1. Giles wells
    Posted July 24, 2013 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    When I reach step 18 the drop menu in Wireless Security sub-menu the Security Mode is set to “Disable”.

    Then I try to set it to WPA Personal but when I do that, the page instantly refreshes before I can save. When the page refreshes, the Security Mode is set back to disable.

    What should I do Paul?

    - Giles

    • Posted July 28, 2013 at 11:37 am | Permalink

      Hi Giles,

      Which Web browser are you using? I have found that IE works best when accessing the router’s dashboard.

      • Giles Wells
        Posted April 5, 2014 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        I use Chrome, but have since switch to another brand of router.

  2. Stacy H.
    Posted June 17, 2013 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Hi there and SOS – I have followed all these instructions and it works great until I modify the browser address to https://192.168.1.1 I get an error stating the “The security certificate presented by this website was not issued by a trusted certificate authority”. These instructions indicate to ignore the error however in Windows 8 I am unable to do so. With no start button I don’t know how to just run as administrator and enter the website….I am unable to work securely using my router until I resolve this….any help?? THANKS!!

  3. Oags
    Posted April 14, 2013 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    I just have one question? Or more precisely…one thing I think was left out of this is, to disable UPnP. That protocol is extremely dangerous and should be shut down on all routers.

    • Posted April 15, 2013 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      That is correct. When I wrote the post disabling UPnP wasn’t as well known as it is today, and I currently have it disabled on my router. Another thing is to disable WPS, if possible, as this can be dangerous since it can allow anyone, using brute force, to get the WPA/WPA2 pre-shared key.

  4. Carolyn
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    No, I tried that too…

    PS: I love your detailed instructions.

    • Posted January 7, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I recommend you press and hold the reset button at the back of the router to reset the router back to factory defaults – meaning unsecured. Go through the steps again, but this time ignore steps 10-13. These steps simply allow you to connect to your router’s administrative pages via SSL, but doesn’t impact the security of your wireless network.

      Securing wireless routers isn’t easy for many, so I tried to be as detailed as possible. My only regret with the steps is that I didn’t include images.

      • Carolyn
        Posted January 7, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, I will try your recommendation this evening when I return home from work.

  5. Carolyn
    Posted January 7, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Hi – I am stuck on #13. I can’t get back to the webpage after adding “s” at the end of http. Any ideas?

  6. ELISE
    Posted December 20, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    This worked perfectly expect after about fifteen minutes, it reverts back to unsecured. Help!

  7. Posted September 17, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Hello! Just wanted to drop a note of thanks for such a great article! Took me about 30 minutes to set up which for a non techy person is awesome! I was expecting it to take much longer. Thanks again!

  8. Lansec
    Posted May 23, 2012 at 2:36 am | Permalink

    @Lucas: try to reset your router to factory defaults and select WPA2 Personal security if this router allows to select it. What is default encryption method? No encryption?

    • UhrinekM
      Posted September 24, 2012 at 2:59 am | Permalink

      How can I get original password from creator? I need it to get in, but I can’t and reset doesn’t help me anyway, admin isnt working. I think that reset button is not working becouse this ilght control is stil the same. I would like to see the answer.

  9. Lucas
    Posted May 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I have also a problem in point 18, when i select wep or wpa the webpage refresh and it goes back to disabled, i need some help with this.

    • Posted May 23, 2012 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Which web browser are you using? Try using Internet Explorer if your aren’t using that browser.

    • Janet
      Posted August 16, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Just spent over an hour last night trying to re-configure my WRT54G for my daughter to use in her college apartment since I got a new N router. I work in IT and it should have been easy. So frustrating to keep having the security go back to Disabled with no indication of what the problem was. It was browser related! I was using IE (probably v. 7 – not sure) to access the GUI and it would not accept a security change from the drop-down list and kept going back to Disabled. Since I had done a firmware upgrade I thought that might be part of the problem, but no. I tried the changes in Chrome and it accepted them & allowed me to save them right away. I was connected via ethernet (Don’t try to do this wirelessly.) I’m sharing my find so others can avoid this stupid problem.

  10. Cecile
    Posted May 1, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    I have not attempted this yet; first I have a couple of questions.

    1: In step 4 where you say count the number of computers…does this include iPods, tablets, etc? Probably a dumb question, but I just want to make sure.

    2: How would I set up a “guest user” situation? I have someone who helps take care of my elderly parent at night and she often brings her teenage daughter with her — she has a laptop and an iPod. I don’t mind her having access, but I would rather allow it as a guest user situation where the password is different. What are your thoughts?

  11. Posted February 23, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Ihave followed all the steps several times I am only successful at locking myself out of the router and end up resetting it. When I change it from http to https is when I can no longer access my router and it is still not secure. What am I doing wrong?

    • Posted February 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      If you are having issues with changing to HTTPS, you can ignore that step as it isn’t needed to secure your wireless network.

  12. Tom
    Posted December 25, 2011 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    great article, i got a quick question tho. How many make my router reach a bit farther, i connect with my iphone and as soon as i go to the next room the signal drop 2 bars.
    Thank you in advance and merry x-mas!

  13. rob s
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    i have gone through the steps several times and it stays secured for 2-3 minutes and the it reverts back to open and the admin passwords reverts to the default (admin) what am i doing wrong ?

  14. ML
    Posted October 19, 2011 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Very, Very helpful. I always refer back to this page when i have to reset my Linksys.
    Thanks again – ML

  15. bill b
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Thanks! Worked perfectly.

  16. Lisa
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I cannot get passed step #18, When I select WPA Personal, the screen refreshes quickly and defaults back to disable…?

  17. Beth
    Posted June 9, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Thank you so much! This article was so helpful!

  18. Jujhar Singh
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Thank you so very much for providing the information. I looked up on 5-6 different websites before I actually followed the steps mentioned by you. I am able to successfully make my router’s connection secure. One question in Step 7 after clicking on Administration >> Management..There are 2 boxes which says Router password & Confirm password. This is where I change my login password ? Will my username remains the same ‘admin’ ?

    • Posted May 5, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      You username remains the same. If there is a box that allows you to change username (which I haven’t found), then you would want to change that as well.

  19. Amy
    Posted May 3, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been trying to find easy to understand instructions for years. My wireless network is FINALLY secure :)

  20. Ashley
    Posted April 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I tried just about everything to secure my Linksys Wifi Network and this is the only thing that worked! Thank you so much!

    • Posted April 27, 2011 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      No problem. I’m glad you managed to secure your wireless network.

  21. Valerie Gomez
    Posted April 7, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Ok-as I was changing my network name it froze. It now wont let me connect to my wireless saying ” network name mismatch” (even though I’m typin in the password I saved) Please help :(

  22. Nick Wright
    Posted February 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    I secured my network yesterday morning and when I woke I tried to get on internet explorer and my computer was saying I was connected but it had a problem identifying the router and I had no internet access. I figure I am doing something wrong. Could ya help me out with this?

    • Nick Wright
      Posted February 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Oh and is there a difference in the WRT54G Wireless-G Router and a WRT54GS? Thanks bythe way in advance for your help…

  23. Gino
    Posted February 4, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    hi, for some reason when i click on the wireless tab, it gets stuck at 99% saying searching for your client device… would you know how i can get past this problem?

    • Posted February 7, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Where is the wireless tab? In the router or on your client?

  24. Kimberly
    Posted January 18, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I just have to say thanks, using your information I was able to create a secured wireless account.

  25. Amy
    Posted December 28, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    After I check the https box and then try to go to the secure set up page I get an error message the says

    You have received an invalid certificate. Please contact the server administrator or email correspondent and give them the following information:

    Your certificate contains the same serial number as another certificate issued by the certificate authority. Please get a new certificate containing a unique serial number.

    (Error code: sec_error_reused_issuer_and_serial)

    How do I get past this to reset my security?

    • kh
      Posted August 10, 2012 at 3:24 am | Permalink

      i need help, i get booted off on step 17 and or 18 and cant connect again to that main page with either https://192.168.1.1 or http. please help. im pretty sure all my techie neighbors are using my connection. asap would be very appreciated.
      thank you

    • Warren Shearer
      Posted March 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      I was struggling with this same issue and found a thread dealing with Windows Server 2008. The issue described in this Microsoft Knowlege Base article deals with the same thing. The certificate length for the Linksys self signed certificate is 512bytes. Windows is configured to only accept 1024byte certificates. Refer to this Microsoft Security Advisory and at the bottom it explains how to configure Microsoft to accept 512byte certificates. I should add that this would lower your computers security posture and you should understand the risks explained in this article before you apply their suggested solution. If Cisco would create a 1024byte certificate for the Linksys and distribute it through a firmware update, this would be resolved. I applied the latest firmware for my WRT54GL and they still have the 512byte length certificate. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2661254

  26. Cole
    Posted December 22, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    It’s not displaying long enough for me to read prompt. I went to the website “http://checkip.dyndns.org” and it came up with 209.65.244.145. Still getting the same error message.

  27. Cole
    Posted December 19, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    After changing the the IP address from http to https, I am no longer able to access my router. I’ve tried 192.168.1.1. both with and without the “s” on https and keep getting the same error message, “unable to connect to server” It’s like the IP address has changed but I never changed it. Thanks in advance.

    • Posted December 20, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      When you type “ipconfig” from a DOS prompt, what is the IP address listed beside the Gateway entry?

  28. Tom
    Posted December 7, 2010 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I get through step 7. and 8. with no problems. But when I put my new password in and click save settings, the user id and password box pops up again. I repeat the step by putting in my new password again, click ok, and the user id and password box pops up yet again. This happens about 3 times then the screen goes blank or I get a pink screen that has a 401 Unauthorized message. I can’t seem to get past this step to complete the process. My router is the Linksys model WRT54G 2.4GHz. My laptop is a Dell Latitude D600. I’ve done a hard reset on the back of the router many times, but still come back to the same roadblock in the process. Any suggestions?

    • Posted December 8, 2010 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      What web browser are you using? If you aren’t using IE, try switching to that browser as others have had issues with different web browsers.

      • Tom
        Posted December 8, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        I finally got it to work last night. I was using IE the whole time. What ended up fixing it was using the TKIP option instead of AES and it worked. Thanks for all of your help.

        • Posted December 8, 2010 at 11:51 am | Permalink

          It’s good to know you got it working. It’s also good to know what the problem was, in case others experience the same issue.

  29. Tom
    Posted December 6, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I understand the default password is “admin”, but what is the user ID? Do I leave that blank or do I have to assign one once I change the password?

    • Posted December 6, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      I believe the default user ID is blank. If there is an option to change the user ID, I would change it, otherwise leave it blank when you change the password.

  30. Darla
    Posted December 5, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Why is it that when changing the password under administration/management and then saving, it does not look like it saved it??

  31. Tiffany
    Posted November 28, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    Awesome setup guide :). But on step 11, do I leave HTTP checked or just have HTTP checked or both?

    • Posted November 29, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      You just need to check one. This only affects how you connect to the administrative pages – whether you use SSL or not.

  32. sandy
    Posted November 17, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Hi, this is the second time that my antivirus display a message saying that someone was trying to enter into my home network. does your instructions can help me with this issue?

    • Posted November 18, 2010 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      You may not be able to stop people from trying to enter into your wireless network, but following these steps will ensure they don’t connect to your network.

  33. Linda P
    Posted November 11, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    First off, thank for the excellent step by step instructions for securing this router, worked like a charm. Just one problem, now I have to enter the routers password everytime I use my iTouch (4th Generation), (even when it just powers down). Is there a setting in the router I need to change to allow an Apple product? My laptop (not Apple) works just fine. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  34. Dan Sals
    Posted November 5, 2010 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the help. Finally feel confident that the everyday user can’t access my router / modem. We all appreciate your time.

  35. Kim Baltruchitis
    Posted October 21, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    I have to say thank you to whom ever published this, because this is the first time i was able to do this successfully! THANK YOU

    • Posted October 21, 2010 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      You’re welcome. I’m glad you were able to secure your network.

  36. Posted October 19, 2010 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

    Very easy tutorial. Now I can work in peace. Thanks.

  37. france
    Posted September 28, 2010 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    j essaie de configurer la securité sans fil du routeur linksys WRT54GL je suis au point 1 je rentre le nom et mot de passe et je n arrive pas a la page web merci de votre aide

    • Posted September 28, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      I don’t speak french, but here goes:

      Qu’est-ce que vous obtenez lorsque vous entrez le nom d’utilisateur et mot de passe?

  38. J.T. Schaf
    Posted September 19, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for setting up this site, as I have not been able to secure my wireless network before. However, I am now unable to aqquire the network address from our 3 laptops. I set the security using my main, hard wired computer. Your help would be greatly appreciated.

  39. Melissa
    Posted July 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for this info. I’ve tried to do this on multiple occasions with no success, and finally this page helped me secure my wireless router. No more free internet for the neighbors!!! Thanks :)

    • Posted July 21, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

      No problem. It’s good to know that the tutorial helped you to secure your router.

  40. Michelle
    Posted June 24, 2010 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    Can i do this even though my network is already set up and working properly. I have connected my printer to the router wirelessly and it works just fine on both a windows 7 laptop and a window xp laptop. But the network is unsecure and i’m pretty conserned about that. I want to be sure changing the security post installation will not inhibit either the laptop connections or the printer connections. i assume i need to alter the connection for both laptops and printer to have a passkey after setting up the security. Thank you so much for your assistance with this,

    • Posted June 24, 2010 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes, you will need to modify the connection on both the laptops and printer to connect to your router once you secure the network connection. Regardless, you should secure your network to prevent any outside visitor from connecting.

      • Michelle
        Posted June 24, 2010 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Paul, I really appreciate you answering my request.
        Michelle

  41. greg
    Posted March 6, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Does my mac adresse change if I upgrade my computer with some other hardware? For example change the graphic card?

    • Posted March 6, 2010 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      The MAC address is tied to an individual piece of hardware. In your case it would be the network card that is installed in your computer. The address will change if you change the network card, otherwise, it will be the same if you change any other hardware component.

  42. Posted February 17, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Several times I had my Linksey router secured using the steps outlined but later it had unsecured on its own.
    Can you tell me why it’s doing this?

    • Chuck
      Posted May 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      If your linksys router is going back to an unsecured network, it is most likely caused by interference (in my experience) Try changing the broadcast channel on your router from 6 to something else, like 3, 9, 12, etc.

      It is ideal to do a scan with something like Netstumbler, with it you will be able to identify the most heavily used channels and the least used is the most ideal.

  43. Posted February 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much for this walk through – the details were spot on and I quickly secured my connection. I’ve left it unsecured for months because I just didn’t want to tackle the techy stuff, but you made it extremely simple. THANKS!

  44. Steven
    Posted January 22, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Your information has really proven to be helpful. I really enjoy reading easy articles leading straight to the point.

    Thanks allot.

  45. Posted November 23, 2009 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Yesterday I was unable to connect to my network. Long story short I reset my router but when I go in to re-secure it I can not change it off of “disabled”. As soon as I change it to WPA it immediately goes back to disabled. What am I dong wrong?

  46. gr
    Posted October 30, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Where would I find the user ID?

    • Chuck
      Posted May 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      The default user id is admin

      If your router has never been configured (besides the stock configuration) its usually
      http://192.168.1.1
      user: admin
      pass: admin

  47. Roem
    Posted June 21, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    This web page is a bookmark staple for myself, and for helping friends secure their router.

    Thanks so much for your thorough and concise explanation.

  48. CMV045
    Posted May 27, 2009 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks very much for your article!
    It’s very clear and simple to follow. It realy helped me.

  49. Mahmoud
    Posted March 12, 2009 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Dear, i do forget my password for linksys ” WRT54GL” what i have to do

    thanks

  50. interrupt
    Posted February 15, 2009 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Regarding WPA-PSK: do not go for “easy to remember password”, since those are quite easy to crack. Changing “a” to “@” and “1″ to “!” does give you extra security, but it just prolongs the cracking time.

    Go to random.org, generate a 63-character long password with uppercase, lowercase letters and digits. Then store it electronically somewhere (it’s always easier to copy-paste) and print it (using a font where you can tell a “zero” from “O”, “one” from “l”, etc.) – just in case. This is uncrackable using brute force password attacks, and since WPA is regarded safe as such, it should give you the comfort you seek.

  51. Kudzai
    Posted February 9, 2009 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    Interesting information. How much research do you actually do Techy before publishing your articles? I’m amazed, they’re so deep and helpful…

    • Posted February 9, 2009 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

      I write most of my articles from experience, but do occasional research to flesh out the topic. My first PC was an 8088 4.77Mhz machine and I have been learning ever since.

      I have a development background, so much of computers comes easy for me. Today I am more interested in digital photography, archiving, and blogging. Many of my most recent posts talk about one of these subjects.

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  • About Me

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