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Security Of Wireless Setup

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Security Of Wireless Setup

Yesterday I installed a D-Link DI-624 wireless router,a DSL-300T modem and a D-Link wireless PCI Card .All went well. At the moment I am just using one PC . Initially the router and modem were sitting beside my PC and the signal strength was shown as "excellent" /108 MBPS. I then moved them to a back bedroom across the hall to where the phone line comes in .The speed remains the same but signal strength is now "low".

Can I ask a couple of points ?
.
Will " low" signal strength be a problem ?.

and

I have read much about security on wireless setups ..when I set this up part of the process was enabling encryption ..I enabled it at 64bit and entered a 10 HEX Character Key. When I right click on the icon for the network connection to "view available networks" it shows it as a " security enabled wireless network".
Is this sufficient to prevent access from outside ?.Do I need to do anyhting with my firewall
7 REPLIES
Plusnet Staff
Plusnet Staff
Posts: 12,169
Thanks: 18
Fixes: 1
Registered: 04-04-2007

Security Of Wireless Setup

Hi,

Low signal strength could cause the card to drop the speed of the wireless link. From personal experience I can get a 54Mbps connection on my laptop if it's in the same room as the router, but I normally use it across the other side of the house through 2 or 3 walls so it drops down to 11Mbps.

For most home wireless networks enabling WEP and changing and hiding the SSID will prevent most people from accessing your network. It's still possible but they'd have to be really determined.
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Security Of Wireless Setup

I would also recommend also using MAC address controls, as this prevents unknown hosts from connecting.

Even with WEP, hidden SSID and MAC address controls it is still possible to the determined cracker to access your network, but most causal crackers would have given up in favour of a less protected network.

Chilly
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Security Of Wireless Setup

Generally I offer the following guidelines:

Before you even consider encryption your first lines of defence are to ensure you change your SSID from its default name, disable SSID broadcast and enable MAC filtering.

As stated earlier these can be easily bypassed, but the aim of good network security is to put in as many layers of defence as possible.

Having established these you now need to enable the strongest possible authentication/encryption that your firmware supports. In order of best to worst these are:

WPA-TKIP (WiFi Protected Access - Temporal Key Integrity Protocol)

WPA-PSK (WPA - PreShared Key)

WEP - Open Authentication (Wireless Equivalent Privacy)

WEP - Shared Key Authentication

None

The strength of the WEP encryption decrease from 256 bit down to 64 bit. 128 bit and below has already been compromised.

To run WPA-TKIP you need to run a RADIUS server. WPA-PSK is the best solution for SoHo users.

If your firmware doesn't support WPA then use WEP-Open at the highest bit strength your firmware supports. Generate 5 WEP keys and change them at least weekly. Google for "WEP Hex Key Generator" and create hexadecimal keys of the appropriate length for the strength of encryption you are using. Most of the utilities you find on google will walk you throught this.

One of the weaknesses of WEP compared with WPA is that it uses the same key for initial authentication and subsequent real time data encryption. That is why for WEP, Open Authentication is better than Shared Key because you are not revealing your key for authentication and hacker cryptanalysis as part of your broadcast.
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Security Of Wireless Setup

Hi

Just to add a few "coals to the fire" anyone else picked this up on BBC Broadband?

"Computer experts have warned of a new threat to internet security which affects people who using wireless technology.

Victims think their laptops are linked to a wireless internet connection, but are instead connected to an "evil twin"."

Ian & Linda Jordan
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Security Of Wireless Setup

Security is a myth, always has been. The thing about evil twins has always been a problem its just that a reporter or some one got effected so its making the news now not a year ago when hot spots started to spring up.
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Security Of Wireless Setup

I had wondered about that, but never having heard about "Evil Twins" before I was not sure.I imigine; having thought about it for a while that is possably what "war-driving" was all about.Same thing different name perhaps?

Ian & Linda Jordan
Community Veteran
Posts: 4,729
Registered: 04-04-2007

Security Of Wireless Setup

I also found it interesting that the BBC was reporting about “evil twin”, but they did not seam to have a single story.

BBC Radio 4
Run a new article about “evil twin” wireless networks.

BBC Radio 1
Had dumb’ed it down to “evil twin” websites.

May be the real story was about evil twin radio stations.

Chilly