Foo - Wireless Network Security Question
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I am confused. I have a Belkin Router and a Belkin wireless card. Under the network monitoring utility i keep seeing networks available that are titled with equipment that I don't own. Like Netgear and Linksys as you see in the pic.
Is this something to be worried about?
10-20-05, 10:04 PM
No, it just means that other people haven't changed the SSID of their network to something more secure.
If your network's SSID is at it's dafault value, you should really change it. It has little to do with security as in intrusion, but if two networks with the same channel and SSID are up, it can screw things up a bit.
I just use my first name and add "net" to it. I used to use "Greenhorse" since i used to own a green mustang....I'm very uncreative with SSID entries.
Now, if you don't have WEP enabled, DO IT. Also if your router supports only allowing wireless cards with pre-approved MAC addresses to access it, do that as well. I use both. Each reduces range somewhat, but each one adds to security.
Given WEP is pretty much the wireless equal to a cable lock, but like a cable lock, it's better than nothing.
edit: by the way, consider changing the channel you boradcast from on the router, so that you are not using a channel that any other nearby networks are using. It helps with improving reception.
10-20-05, 10:22 PM
Here's another thread on how to beef up security: Wireless Network Help (http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=146680)
10-21-05, 10:40 AM
A tiny clarification to what Catatonic said:
Changing the SSID *does* have a security effect, though indirect... Since Belkin and Netgear and all the others each use a default admin password on all their routers, and many owners never change those passwords, broadcasting an SSID that identifies your equipment is an invitation to come in... This is not a recommendation that you rely on "security through obscurity" - it's just to point out that obscurity is at least some tiny percentage better than an open invitation!
Not using WEP is the most imporant thing when it comes to wireless security, use WPA 504bit encryption.
It's a proven fact that most people know WEP can be easily hacked in as little as 4 minutes, it has a major vulnerability.
On my Linksys WRT54GS wireless router I'm running WPA 504bit, I only allow 2 wireless connections (my 2 PCs), and I only allow the MAC addresses of my desktop wireless card and laptop wireless card. That should be all I need.
Wireless router: Linksys WRT54GS
Notebook PCMCIA wireless adapter: Linksys WPC54GS
Desktop PCI wireless adapter: Linksys WMP54G
Cable modem: Linksys BEFCMU10
USB Bluetooth adapter: Linksys USBBT100
Yes I love Linksys gear, it's never let me down.
Every time i try and turn on encryption, i can't get it to work. So far, i have turned on MAC address filtering and changed SSID. I don't know why i can't get the encryption to work but oh well. I'll play more later.
10-21-05, 06:15 PM
WEP entries have to be identical on the card and router.
Think of it as a "secret handshake" for the router to give the wireless card access.
10-21-05, 10:01 PM
Every time i try and turn on encryption, i can't get it to work. So far, i have turned on MAC address filtering and changed SSID. I don't know why i can't get the encryption to work but oh well. I'll play more later.With WEP, there's two factors relating to the encryption-key you have to be aware of and not all routers & NICs have the passphrase implemented.
1. passphrase is a human-readable string you type in, easy to remember, this is used in a complicated algorithm to come up with...
2. encryption key is a hexadecimal string that's actually used, 10-digits for 64-bit encryption and 26-digits for 128-bit encryption
Then the method of authenticating comes in 3-flavors of auto, open and shared. This gives you 6 possible methods of turning on WEP-encryption outside of the encryption-key itself. Just make sure all these settings are exactly the same on both the router and the NIC.
And even if your router only as WEP encryption, use it! It's much better than not turning it on at all. :(
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