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WiFi security - eaves dropping

shermans
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WiFi security - eaves dropping

I am after some advice again.  This all sounds very dramatic !
A friend of mine is involved in a nasty family legal case.  She lives in a house alone since her husband died, and the family are trying to get her out.  Her husband's business was conducted from an office in the grounds of her house, and her stepson now controls the business.  All the utilities were always managed by the business, including her own telephone in the house, which has an extension in the office in the grounds.
She knows that her stepson listens in to her private conversations from the office, which means that she does not dare to talk to her solicitor on the landline.  She has bought a PAYG mobile phone for that purpose, but the signal is very poor due to the rural location, and so a mobile phone is not a practical solution to the problem.
One answer would be to instal her own private telephone line in the house, but again there would be logistical problems and BT would almost certainly run it along the existing cable serving the house and office, which would make it easy to tap into.
The only alternative that she has come up with is to use Skype which works well.  Her computer is connected to broadband with WiFi of course, and now she is becoming nervous that her Skype conversations could be hacked into.  I have tried to re-assure her that it would be technically difficult as her Skype is password protected, as of course is her router.  There is a distinct possibility that her stepson may know the password for the BT Home Hub router, although it is very unlikely.
So I have the following questions :
1. Can anyone tell me how to access a BT Home Hub router in order to change the password please ? - step by step instructions that I could pass on to her from anyone who has a BT Home Hub would be most appreciated.  She is not in the least computer literate, and unfortunately I live far too far away to be able to do it for her.  I am not personlly familiar with a BT router as I have a LinkSys, but the principles must be the same.
2. Similarly, how would she turn off the broadcast router's name ?
3. Would anyone without much computer expertise be able to hack into her laptop through the WiFi connection, if they managed somehow to log onto the router ?  There is of course correspondence and emails with her solicitor on the laptop.  I have told her at least to turn the router off when she is not accessing the internet, but it is inconvenient, and I would hope that her laptop is reasonably secure.  I do not know whether she has a firewall, but if not, I will sort out Zone Alarm for her.
4. What about Skype security ?  Could anyone eavesdrop in reality ?
I am hoping that she has just been watching too many spies thrillers on TV and that there is no real threat, but I do sympathise because it cannot be easy having to live looking over your shoulder like that.
Any comments would be appreciated.
17 REPLIES
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

Quote from: shermans
There is a distinct possibility that her stepson may know the password for the BT Home Hub router, although it is very unlikely.

If you didn't change the default SSID and key, then it can be much easier for someone to determine the key: http://forum.kitz.co.uk/index.php/topic,1937.0.html
Quote from: shermans
2. Similarly, how would she turn off the broadcast router's name ?

This doesn't really add any security.
VileReynard
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

Why not just use a wired connection - the ADSL signal between router and the exchange isn't usually encrypted - but you would have to buy expensive equipment to hack into it.
A encrypted wireless signal is no longer encrypted when it reaches the phone line.

shermans
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

Fortunately, her husband got a professional to install the router, and he did at least change the  password from the default, although it seems he may have not changed the SSID because it looks like the BT default SSID.  At least the password was changed.  But there is a possibility, although unlikely, that the step-son could have seen the pasword written on the back of the router at some time in the past - unlikely, but possible.  So that is why I need to be able to tell her how to access the route to change the password.  I assume that a BT router is accessed with http://192.168.1.1 as usual, but what happens after that, because I am unfamiliar with BT hardware ?
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

I seem to recollect Skype transmission  is encrypted along the entire network path  through from the PC to where it meets the server that interfaces with the public telecom system (or another PC in a skype to skype conversation). It is a strong encryption.
Here's the detail https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA31/Does-Skype-use-encryption
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

How about a 3G wireless Dongle for her laptop?
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

Quote from: shermans
4. What about Skype security ?  Could anyone eavesdrop in reality ?

As the saying goes, you choose your friends but you cant choose your family. Very sad to hear about this, it sounds a horrible situation.
Unless they have access to some very very expensive equipment, and a licence from the government allowing you to own that equipment, I would say with some certainty that they would have no means to eavesdrop on a call made using Skype.
Use Skype, it is secure as AlaricAdair suggests.
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

Quote from: shermans
he may have not changed the SSID because it looks like the BT default SSID.

There isn't a BT default SSID.  The SSID will be BTHomeHub-wxyz where wxyz can be a number of letter of either case.  In addition by default there will be another network called BTFON and another called BTOpenzone.  Both offer public WiFi access but should be completely isolated from the private network.
Quote from: shermans
I assume that a BT router is accessed with http://192.168.1.1 as usual

No, it's 192.168.1.254 .  The user name is admin and the password is on the side of the router but you are forced to change the password on first login.  This means that this password is probably unknown.  The only way around this would be a reset.  This would not disrupt internet access but would reset the wireless passkey if it has been changed.   
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

Quote from: godsell4
Unless they have access to some very very expensive equipment, and a licence from the government allowing you to own that equipment, I would say with some certainty that they would have no means to eavesdrop on a call made using Skype.

I imagine bugging her house would be much simpler and cheaper!
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

I was waiting for someone to suggest that. Also @ shutter if a mobile can't be used there due to signal strength the dongle won't fair much better either.
Sounds like a horrible situation to be in.. families are horrible things to each other sometimes aren't they.
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

Not necessarily true.... but. plausible.... I am on T mobile for my mobile phone... and can sometimes make calls when the 3G dongle does not get a signal, to connect.... and the other way round too.... sometimes I can get on the net with the dongle, but can`t use my mobile....
Ellis
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

Quote from: shermans
One answer would be to instal her own private telephone line in the house, but again there would be logistical problems and BT would almost certainly run it along the existing cable serving the house and office, which would make it easy to tap into.

Anyone tapping into a phone line without court authority, is committing a crime under the Telecommunications Act.
Community Veteran
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

Assuming you can prove it..
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MrT
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Re: WiFi security - eaves dropping

This might be a silly question, but
Doesn't the router show what has connected to it? My Thomson TG585v7 does.