Hacking DD-WRT? Take Backups Early & Often!

I’ve written before about my exploits with DD-WRT, however one thing I forgot to mention in that article, or didn’t stress strongly enough is the absolute necessity that nvram backups are. You see, a DD-WRT router only has enough space to hold a regular configuration plus a bit of customizing. If the space is exceeded, the router resets back to defaults, which is really really annoying after you’ve spent hours tweaking your router in the Admin UI. Thankfully one can take a backup using the Administration tab, then the “Backup” option.

dd-wrt backup screenshot

You’ll notice my “Backup” option is italicized. That’s because I connect over HTTPS to my router and disable HTTP. Backups can’t be taken over HTTPS, so you’ll need to temporarily re-enable HTTP and connect through there to take your backup.

I like to take multiple backups as I’m working, so that if my router’s memory dumps (Which has happened a bunch of times…grrr…) I have a backup to move to easily. I also might have to roll back changes I’ve made, so multiple backups at each step of the hack are useful. I keep them all in an Evernote note, with notes on what each backup holds:

As you can see, my changes don't always work.
As you can see, my changes don’t always work.

Backup early and often and prevent the inevitable headache when your router reboots and all of a sudden your SSID changes to dd-wrt with no password protecting it!

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