Wireless users - change your defaults!

Discussion in 'Computers' started by Joe Reinwald, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Joe Reinwald

    Joe Reinwald Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,

    I just recently purchased an 802.11g wireless router and card for my laptop. Though I've been curious about other neighborhood wi-fi people, I was able to hold off until this evening.

    I ran Linksys' built-in "Site Survey" and it found 6 wireless networks. Of those 6, three were using the default SSID and only one was using any sort of encryption.

    If one were inclined, one could probably connect to those networks rather easily with the appropriate tools and some curiosity.

    As a word of wisdom--if you have a wireless network at home:
    • change the default password to your router
    • enable MAC address filtering
    • change your SSID and turnoff broadcast
    • use encryption!


    -Joe
     
  2. Tekara

    Tekara Supporting Actor

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    Just so you know, connecting to a network that you have not been expressly been given permission to connect to is illegal, so you might want to curb any conversation about such things on boards like this one.

    If you have a general interest in what's known as war driving, which is seeing what wetworks exist in your area. . . which is legal. You should look into getting a program called netstumbler, it's actually rather addictive seeing what's out there.
     
  3. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Hi Joe,

    This has been discussed before, and I agree with everything you say. Anyone with a wireless network should do all these things to help protect themselves. However, I want to make sure you (and others) aren't too confident.

    Please understand that there is no way to make a wireless network completely secure (or anywhere close). Many programs are available to find wireless networks (whether the SSID is broadcast or not). Also, there are widely available programs which can break 128-bit WEP in about 30 minutes. Once WEP is broken one can intercept data and read it, but not yet connect to the network if MAC address filtering is enabled. However, using the intercepted data, one can find the MAC addresses of any machine using the wireless network. Using some simple software that person can then spoof the MAC address and gain access to the network.

    It's really not all that difficult. Am I saying people should start doing this stuff? NO, it's illegal. But remember that when you send information over a wireless network it is open to attack. I DO have a wireless network because I believe the benefits outweigh the potential costs, but if you've got some computer-geek neighbors, you might want to be careful.
     
  4. Joe Reinwald

    Joe Reinwald Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, I edited my post... It was meant as just a heads-up. Since the SSIDs were, for the most part, the default, I have no idea which of my neighbors owned the routers. The ones that we do know, though, I don't know that they're the most technical in nature. I also don't think they are guarding any top secret documents on their laptops, either...

    It was intended as a friendly "check your network" for the average users.
     
  5. James T

    James T Screenwriter

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    It was on the news about a year ago. They demonstrated right in the middle of downtown Toronto and found close to 50 sites without any sort of encryption.

    I don't know how dated the information is, but they said that by default, encryption is turned off.
     
  6. Darryl

    Darryl Stunt Coordinator

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    I installed a wireless network in January. I was surprised to find 6 other wireless networks within range of my home. Of those 6, I could connect to 2, including one called "default". The problem was that my computer just picked one at random to connect to when I first logged in. Sometimes I didn't realize I was on my neighbor's network until I got annoyed with a slow download. Fortunately I got things worked out and my computer no longer jumps on to other people's networks.

    I think the issue is that the companies producing wireless hardware want to give people that "it just works" experience right out of the box. But if "it just works" for the guy down the street too...
     

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