Wireless security

  Ferrari-Fan 17:27 23 Feb 2006

I am about to connect mt NTL broadband through a Belkin F5D7230 router and USB adaptor, but am worried about what I hear about security with wireless set ups.

I'm told that there are various levels of security which prevent increasing levels of protection from prying eyes, but maybe not from the most educated of people wishing to access someone elses system. Is this true?

I also thought that securing a system was to prevent someone from outside from using my internet connection, but I have been told that people can actually access anything on the computer, including personal files and details through to tracing your actions and bank details. Is this also true?

  ade.h 17:33 23 Feb 2006

For Belkin routers:

1) Enter your router’s config page by typing the IP address into your browser. This is

2) In the Wireless section, go to Settings and SSID. Change the SSID to something reasonably unique, like “My Wifi Network”. This achieves two things; it stops anyone from identifying your brand of router and it makes your network more obvious to you among those of your neighbours.
You can turn off SSID broadcast if you wish, but this sometimes causes pick-up problems with some devices.

3) This is the biggy; click on Security. From the drop-down, select WPA with Pre-shared Key (WPA-PSK). Now you need to pick a key, and it had better be good; a long mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols, such as ydfPH9456#45=?ekny5834cbr. Make up your own and write it down for use later. When you are ready to connect a wireless PC for the first time, you will be asked for this key. It will be stored from then on, but keep a note of it anyway.

4) This is a bit more complex; click on MAC address filtering. Now, on each PC that uses your network, go to Start, Run and type in “command” without the quotes. In the box that has appeared, type “ipconfig /all” - without quotes, but with the space. Look for the MAC address and make a note of it. Once you have the MAC address of every PC, go back to your router’s config page and select “allow” from the drop-down. Now enter those MAC addresses by clicking on New MAC Address. If you later want to allow more devices onto your network, follow this procedure again.

5) Under the Firewall section, select Policy. It should already be set to typical. If so, leave it that way; if not, select it.

6) Go to Utilities and select Remote Management. If ANY of these boxes are ticked, untick them. By default, they will not be ticked.

7) In Utilities, select System Settings. This is where you set a password for the router’s config page. I cannot emphasise just how essential this is!! Enter a password that will be impossible to guess and tricky to crack with a password generator; it does not need to be as sophisticated as your WPA key, as you’ll need to type this password occasionally. Again, make a note of it.


Hope that helps; any questions, feel free to ask.

  Ferrari-Fan 17:34 23 Feb 2006

Sorry I realise I should have posted this question in the networking forum, so have done.

  ade.h 17:41 23 Feb 2006

To answer your other questions, in no particular order:

An open network means an entirely open PC. Any nefarious wardriver who was after your ADSL bandwidth would also have a browse around, though you probably don't have anything interesting (to them anyway). It's not your files that they're after.

WPA (Wireless Protected Access) is the most secure system, giving 128bit encryption, but it is only as good as the key. (See above). When set up correctly, no-one's getting in, realistically.

What you are trying to achieve is to avoid giving a wardriver any reason to choose you over the plethora of open networks in your neighbourhood. Make it tough and they go elsewhere; make it easy and your bandwidth cap will mysteriously get used up and your ISP will be billing you for the extra usage on top. Not only that, but a white chalk mark might appear on your wall (I see them around sometimes) to let other wardrivers know that your network is open.

But hey, don't panic over it. Follow the above guide, and you'll be totally safe.

  ade.h 17:42 23 Feb 2006

Please don't duplicate threads. Once you opened this one, it would have been better to stay with it.

  rmcqua 10:37 24 Feb 2006

Great set up advice ade.h
Hope lots of people read this as it will solve most of their setup security problems.

  ade.h 16:57 25 Feb 2006

Did that advice help?

Some feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.

  Ferrari-Fan 21:26 27 Feb 2006

Thanks for your help.
Yes it does help. The information was very detailed which is just what a newbie like myself is grateful for.

Sorry I didn't respond earlier, but have been away all weekend and am actually surprised at the speed of replies from you guys who know what you're talking about.

I can't believe I've been subscribed to PC Advisor for the past 2 years and not made use of this facility. Once I get the hang of this, you'll probabably be sick of hearing from me soon lol.

  ade.h 22:36 27 Feb 2006

This is the quickest forum on the internet, simply because of the number of users that are logged in at any one time.

Glad the info was helpful and easy to follow. You can now count yourself among the lucky ones (me included) who have fully working wifi metworks!

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