How safe is my wireless home network


I have recently set up a home wireless network using a adsl2+router which was supplied by my isp. Which I have set up with a long wep key, not sure how great it is but just followed the manual.

Having read a lot of reports of wireless networks being "hacked" into I started thinking how safe is my computer.

Can anyone offer any information in helping keep my wireless network safe.

All quite interesting stuff. I thought the best way of thinking about security is think what would the would be hacker do with that mindset I guess you could help protect yourself. Its a shame I understand very little about the subject :). How does this swarm of wirelss hackers do what they do ?


Reply to
Loading thread data ...

WEP is not secure. Do some more research and see if WPA is available and use a long key. If not disable the radio and get an access point that does have WPA.

People make it easy. They ask the experts at Best Buy what to buy. Take it home and plug it in and when they can surf from the notebook they think they are done. It is the electronic equivalent of putting a sign out in front of your house saying "The door is open--help yourself".

Reply to

I would say you are over stating the problem because it depends on the location of the setup.

Maybe in a city where theft/crime is more prevalent than the countryside.

otherwise 64 or 128 bit WEP may be adequate.

Reply to
Pop Larkin

Wireless router = Belkin Wireless G+ Wireless interface = Belkin Wireless G Desktop

I've just taken the plunge into wireless too, and after more hours than I care to mention trying to get it to work right, I am glad to say I'm happy with my set up. But like you, I am concerned with keeping unwanted connections out of my wireless network.

Right off the bat, I changed the default SSID name to something other than the manufacturers default, which is usually the manufacturers name. Getting more adventurous, I turned off 'broadcast SSID' too. I'm quite sure that it's still possible to discover a 'hidden' wireless network, but it makes me feel better.

For administration via the built-in web server present on most routers, I changed the default (blank) password to something more secure.

I have WPA capability on my router, so I turned that on and thought up a considerably long and obscure passphrase for it. Basically I mixed nonsense words with numbers, making sure I noted any case changes I'd put in ie. l instead of L.

I did want to enable MAC (Media Access Control) filtering too, but I ran into some problems there, so that's off for the time being. Even though my router automatically puts in the MAC address of the machine logged in via the web-admin interface, I wasn't sure if I was entering in MAC addresses of my other PC, and that of the NIC in my main PC correctly. I was unable to login properly after my initial attempts, so decided to leave that for another time. I will concede that it could've been something else stopping my access, but I'm not sure what it could have been.

As for my main PC, which hosts the wireless card, I made sure to the best of my knowledge that I wasn't running any servers. File And Printer Sharing went straight off, as I have no need for that. I am not running any other listening services on this machine so I'm hoping that there's nothing to connect into, as far as this box is concerned, if someone did successfully 'hop' onto my wireless network.

So that's it for now. Other than me messing up the MAC filtering, I am happy with the set up here now. If I'm away from home for a while, I'll just turn off the wireless router.

Hope this helps in some way.



Reply to
Benson Hedges

"Petesmad" hath wroth:

WEP encryption can be cracked in a few seconds. Please switch to WPA or WPA2 encryption.

There are two dangers.

  1. Someone breaks your encryption key and then breaks into your computah.
  2. Someone sniffs your traffic and extracts logins, passwords, credit card numbers, etc from the captured traffic.

The basics are:

  1. Good encryption system which means WPA or WPA2.
  2. Selection of a good encryption pass phrase. Long and complex is recommended as dictionary attacks will work or short phrases.
  3. Change the router password. If your router does SNMP, change the read and write community names.

There are also various "experts" that offer additional ways to secure a wireless network. Methinks the suggestions are worthless and usually cause more problems than they prevent:

Also, note that a reasonably clever 14 year old can extract your WPA key from the Windoze registry in a few seconds. It's not necessary to crack the key over the air if someone has access to your PC.

See the FAQ at:

There's other stuff in there such as how to secure your laptop at a wireless hotspot that might be of interest.

I really don't want to supply a tutorial on how to do wireless breaking and entry. You can find these yourself with Google.

In general, the average neighborhood hacker is not interested in breaking into your computer and stealing your pornography collection. What they want is to use your broadband connection for internet access or to borrow your computer to store some of their junk. If really evil, they'll grab some bank or credit card email, log a few passwords, and try for identity theft. They can do it much easier by just raiding your postal mailbox and grabbing some of those blank checks the credit card companies send to sponsor identity theft problems.

What you should be worrying about is crimeware, which is usually a trojan horse program, installed on your computer for the purpose of distributed denial of service attacks and the usual keystroke loggers for identity theft. These will go right through a firewall because they are downloaded via email or via a web browser. No amount of wireless encryption is going to stop these. It has to be done by maintaining updates and installing prophylactic software such as virus and spyware scanners.

Reply to
Jeff Liebermann Forums website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.