I have a Netgear 834GT router operating on Windows XP Pro op system. I had occasion to reset the Netgear router (small hole & paperclip) When I look at the available networks, I see 3 or 4 neighbours all secured. I also see my Netgear network but it is unsecured. Q. How do I secure my netork so that only I can logon? Thanks for any help
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Amazing. I didn't know the Netgear used XP in their products. Perhaps you mean your connecting wireless client runs XP Pro?
I'm too lazy to see if Netgear has something in their docs on their web page, so I'll just guess(tm) from memory. There should be something in the Netgear instructions, but RTFM is no fun. Try this:
Connect a CAT5 cable between your XP Pro computah and one of the 4 LAN ports on the Netgear.
Go to: http://192.168.0.1 which is the configuration screen.
Find the Wireless page and set the SSID to something unique like "GET_LOST" so that you can distinguish your Netgear router from all the others that didn't bother doing this.
Find the Wireless Security page and select "WPA Personal" or "WPA-PSK". This is your Wireless security.
Install a long and messy WPA pass phrase. Write it down somewhere as you'll need it.
Unplug the CAT5 cable and try to connect via wireless. Go to the Wireless setting on your XP system and either edit the saved profile for your system, or just delete and recreate it. When it asks for a pass phrase, incribed the long and messy WPA pass phrase (twice).
I do the same thing, but not for security. Details if you want them.
MAC addresses are easily spoofed. I do it all the time for testing the number of connections that an access point can handle. The MAC addresses in use can easily be extracted using any wireless sniffer or monitoring tool:
I've done more breakings using wire tap than with wireless.
Before you abandon wireless as hopelessly insecure, methinks you'll find that WPA encryption is more than adequate for keeping hackers like me out of your system. At this time, a sufficiently long (> 20 chars) WPA password has not been cracked. If you want additional security, setup a RADIUS server, and you won't have to worry about assigning a WPA key. Each user and session get their own unique and maximum length key from the RADIUS server.
Also, if your level of parnoia is sufficiently high, you might wanna do some light weight monitoring. See:
If you're running MAC filtering, but no encryption, anyone with a sniffer can capture your traffic and extract your logins, passwords, incriminating email, list of morally degenerate web sites, etc. It might keep the neighbors from using your broadband connection, but it won't stop them from looking at your traffic.