Wireless Security

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Important Wireless Security

Post by Doctor Inferno on 31st December 2007, 3:25 am



This Wireless Security guide will show you how to secure you wireless network to prevent hackers from using your internet access point.




A wireless, or Wi-Fi, network is extremely convenient for home and small business users. Itís inexpensive, easy to set up, and it allows two or more computers to share a broadband Internet connection without the hassles of wires.


Wi-Fi security is every bit as important as virus and malware protection. It takes a bit of effort, but you canít afford to let it slide.

Common Wireless Definitions

- IEEE 802.11: A family of wireless networking standards developed by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The 802.11b/g protocols are most common among wireless LANs. While g is faster than b-running at 54 megabits per second (Mbps) versus 11MbpsĖthe upcoming 802.11n spec promises far speedier performance for demanding applications like video. In the interim, routers based on an early draft of 802.11n, such as the routers based on an early draft of 802.11n, are now shipping.

- MAC address: A 12-digit number used to identify each piece of hardware on the network. MAC stands for Media Access Control.

- SSID: An acronym for Service Set Identifier, SSID is the name of your wireless network. It has up to 32 letters or numbers. When you buy a Wi-Fi router, it comes with a default SSID, which youíll need to change for security reasons. (Iíll explain how to do this later.) In order to talk to each other, each device on your wireless LAN must use the same SSID.

- WEP: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encrypts data transmitted over wireless networks. Itís not the best security technology, and itís easy to crack. On the other hand, WEP is easy to configure, and using it is far better than running a Wi-Fi network with all security turned off.

- WPA: A wireless security protocol thatís much better than the easily-hacked WEP. Short for Wi-Fi Protected Access, WPA offers improved data encryption, which makes it a lot harder for hackers to read intercepted messages. It also adds user authentication to thwart bad guys from posing as valid users. The downside: WPA is harder to set up, adds overhead to network packets, and can slow performance, and hardware made before year 2003 might not be upgradeable to WPA. Still, itís the better choice.






Securing your wireless hardware


Wireless networking devices are equipped with a lot of tools to secure your LAN. Unfortunately, some hardware makers leave these features turned off. Itís your job to make sure theyíre turned on.

1. Change the default password: A wireless access point or router usually ships with an administrator password that you enter (via setup software) to change settings. Since default router passwords are widely available on the Internet, I recommend you create a new password right away (see Figure 1). For added protection, your password should include letters, numbers, and unusual characters such as @,%,^,or ~.


Figure1


2. Change the default SSID: This is the name of your wireless network. For instance, my SMC router has the default name, but I changed mine. (See Figure 2.) Your mission: Rename your network. While a new name wonít keep crackers away, it'll show them you're reasonably tech savvy and have probably implemented decent security.


Figure2


3. Disable SSID broadcast: By default, your Wi-Fi network broadcasts its name to all wireless users within range. If you've used a Wi-Fi hot spot in a public area before, you know the drill: Your wireless device picks up the access point's SSID signal and tries to connect. By disabling SSID broadcast, you make your network invisible to your neighbours. (See Figure 2.)


4. Enable MAC address filtering: Many wireless access points and routers have a security feature called MAC address filtering, which lets you create a select list of devices that can access your LAN. While not bulletproof ó hackers have been known to crack it ó MAC address filtering is a good Wi-Fi security feature that you should implement. So, how do you find a MAC address? In Windows, click Start >> Run and type cmd in the Open window. A DOS-style command prompt window pops up. Type ipconfig/all on the command line and hit Enter. Look for a line that reads Physical Address, followed by a 12-digit number. That number is the MAC address. (See Figure 3.)[/i][/color]



Figure 3


Last edited by Doctor Inferno on 5th January 2010, 4:43 am; edited 4 times in total (Reason for editing : Information Updated)


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Important Re: Wireless Security

Post by Doctor Inferno on 31st December 2007, 3:41 am

Lesson 3: Wireless security features in Windows XP


In this lesson, Iíll use Windows XPís wireless security tools to bolster Wi-Fi protection.

Windows XP supports both WEP and WPA security. As discussed in Lesson 1 , WPA provides superior protection and is the better choice. But if your Wi-Fi hardware is a few years old, it may not be upgradeable to WPA. Contact your vendor to find out if it is.

Tip:
A WEP-to-WPA upgrade can be tricky. Your wireless access points, network adapters, and clients will need software upgrades, and access points may require a firmware update. The Microsoft Support Site provides a detailed overview of whatís needed.


If youíre configuring a new Wi-Fi network, use the Windows XP Wireless Network Setup Wizard.



Figure1


* Go to Start/Control Panel/Wireless Network Setup Wizard. (See Figure 1.)
* Youíll need to enter the SSID, or network name, which can be up to 32 characters long. Use the SSID you created in Lesson 2.
* You should add either WEP or WPA security. The wizard selects WEP by default, but you can switch to WPA by checking a box at the bottom of the screen.
* Windows will automatically select a WEP security key, which wireless clients will need to access your network. (This should stop the neighbors from piggybacking on your Internet connection.) If you prefer, you can create your own security key, too. (See Figure 2.)



Figure2


Use a USB flash drive to save your network settings. (The wizard recommends this.) The flash drive, shown in Figure 3, allows you to quickly port the wireless LAN settings to other Wi-Fi devices. The slower, more tedious alternative is to manually reenter these settings on each device.



Figure3


If you take the manual route, donít forget to print your network settings before completing the wizard. Doing this is easy: Just click the Print Network Settings button on the final screen. (See Figure 4.)





Tip:
Adding a wireless printer to your network? Itís easy to add new devices. Simply launch the Wireless Network Setup Wizard and select Add new computers or devices to [your networkís name] on the second screen.



****************************************************************




Lesson 4: Wireless security and firewalls


In this lesson, Iíll examine the firewallís role in wireless network security and discuss potential conflicts.

Your wireless network needs a firewall for protection against malicious hackers. Youíll want a wireless router or access point with a hardware firewall, meaning one that operates inside the device and protects all the computers on the network. Naturally, it should offer plenty of configuration options for managing data traffic traveling to and from your computer ports.

Tip:
Do you need to connect to your network while on the road? Look for a firewall that allows VPN connections. VPN, or Virtual Private Networking, lets you send data via an encrypted private tunnel over the public Internet. My SMC router is an example of a wireless router (with a firewall) that supports VPN pass-through. For most home users, though, a VPN is unnecessary.


With a hardware firewall, thereís no need to run a separate software firewall, such as the one that comes with Windows XP. You can, however, run one for added protection, although sometimes conflicts arise when two firewalls try to do the same job. For instance, your Internet connection may drop.

Or you can disable the software firewall running on each computer, and free up system resources for other tasks. To turn off the Symantec Client Firewall, for instance:

* Right-click your Firewall icon in the Taskbar tray.
* Click Disable your Firewall.
* Other firewall vendors, including ZoneAlarm, provide a similarly easy solution. To disable the Windows XP SP2 firewall, which is turned on by default, go to Start/Control Panel/Security Center and click Windows Firewall.

Another benefit of the hardware firewall: All of your applications follow the same rules when it comes to Internet access.

Tip:
A NAT firewall is a good choice for added protection. NAT, or Network Address Translation, is a technology that hides your internal IP addresses from the public Internet. It uses one set of addresses inside your network and another set externally.


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Important Re: Wireless Security

Post by Doctor Inferno on 31st December 2007, 4:30 am

Lesson 5: Protection at public Wi-Fi hot spots


In this lesson, Iíll show you ways to keep your system secure when using a public Wi-Fi hot spot.

So youíre sitting in a public Wi-Fi hot spot, such as a coffee shop or motel, and youíre browsing travel sites for airline tickets. Youíve found an amazing deal and youíre ready to buy. Out comes the credit card. Warning: Youíve entered the Wi-Fi Danger Zone!

A public Wi-Fi hot spot, such as those found at cafes and airportsĖand even throughout some citiesĖposes a serious security threat, particularly for the naive user. Why? Most hotspots commit the Deadly Sins of Wireless Security:

* They donít use WEP or WPA encryption. A cracker could read all data traveling to and from your computer.
* They broadcast their SSIDs.
* They donít bother with passwords, MAC address filtering, and other security stuff.

Of course, a public hot spot canít implement these security features and still offer free Internet access to all. So how do you protect yourself when surfing there?

* Limit your hot spot usage to basic Internet surfing. Donít do online banking, shopping, or other activities that require sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers.
* If youíre a telecommuter or business traveler connecting to the office LAN, use a virtual private network (VPN), which encrypts your data and routes it via a private tunnel over the public Internet.
* Watch out for the Evil Twin. This may sound like a cheesy horror flick, but itís a real threat. A cracker sets up a rogue Wi-Fi access point with a name very similar to that of the legitimate hotspot. An unsuspecting user connects to the rogue hot spot, and the hacker begins mining the userís hard drive for personal information. The solution is to make sure youíre connecting to the official hot spot. If itís a restaurant or cafe, ask the staff for the hot spotís name (but donít be surprised if they donít know).

Also, configure Windows so that it doesnít automatically connect to ďnon-preferredĒ wireless networks. This prevents your laptop from automatically reconnecting to a potentially dangerous access point, should the public hot spot go down. (Windows may already be set this way, but you should check.)

* Right-click the Wireless Network Connection icon in the Taskbar tray, and select View Available Wireless Networks.
* In the Related Tasks window, click Change Advanced Settings.
* Click the Wireless Networks tab, then the Advanced button.
* Uncheck the Automatically connect to non-preferred networks box.



****************************************************************




Lesson 6: Battling viruses, spam, and other threats

In this lesson, Iíll show you some new ways that Wi-Fi users can fight malware.

By now youíre aware that wireless networks face security threats that donít affect wired LANs. Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi crowd must contend with traditional dangers too, including spam, spyware, and viruses.

Until recently, the only solution for battling malware was to run security software such as Kaspersky Internet Security or ESET Smart Security. But these powerful utilities can hamper performance on the computers that run them, gobbling up memory and processor power better spent on other tasks.


In addition to running hardware or software security tools, Windows users should install the latest ďcriticalĒ updates as soon as Microsoft releases them (which, alas, is often). These updates patch security holes in Internet Explorer and other operating system components.

* Go to Start/Control Panel/Security Center.
* Select Automatic Updates (if it isnít already turned on). Click OK.
* On the Security Center screen, under Resources, click Check for the latest updates from Windows Update.
* Your browser will load and take you to the Windows Update site. Click Express to download and install any available updates.


Last edited by Doctor Inferno on 24th November 2008, 3:39 am; edited 1 time in total


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Important Re: Wireless Security

Post by Wolflobo on 11th March 2008, 2:25 pm

wow nice info Thank You! thank you so much doc

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Important Re: Wireless Security

Post by Doctor Inferno on 11th March 2008, 2:28 pm

You're welcome Wolflobo Cheesy Grin (sparkly


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Important Re: Wireless Security

Post by TeReX on 31st March 2008, 10:30 am

nice tutorial Cheesy Grin (sparkly

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Important Re: Wireless Security

Post by jbender on 2nd December 2008, 1:19 am

awesome. very informative, always a pleasure doc. Thank you.

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Important Re: Wireless Security

Post by Manette on 27th January 2010, 10:42 am

Very informative, thx :smile2:

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Important Re: Wireless Security

Post by PhoenixRaider1076 on 12th February 2010, 2:59 pm

Very informative. I had been using a WEP key on the home network until a friend showed me how easy it was to for WEP to be cracked. Since then, I always set up private networks with WPA instead of WEP.

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Important Wireless

Post by iaanhayden on 3rd April 2013, 11:07 am

All Wi-Fi gear supports some form of encryption. Encryption technology scrambles notes dispatched over wireless networks so that they cannot be effortlessly read by humans. get access to points and routers all use a mesh title called the SSID. Manufacturers commonly ship their goods with the same SSID set. The ultimate in wireless security measures, closing down your mesh will most certainly prevent outside hackers from shattering in.used nortel equipment will also help you.

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