Make a wireless network secure.

  suburban train 23:32 20 Feb 2003

IM thinking of setting up a wireless network, iknow what hardware i need and how to set up but how do i make it secure from hackers?

Ive got Sygate professional firewall is this all i need or will i need more software?


  Gman 23:37 20 Feb 2003

Your firewall is ok but the software that comes with the wireless hardware will allow you to set encryption on your network which although there are known flaws with will be perfectly ok for general use unless your passing state secrets of course!!

  suburban train 23:39 20 Feb 2003

Ive heard a rumour that if you have broadband on a wireless network others can access it without your permission how can you stop this?

  Gman 23:52 20 Feb 2003

not if you set the encryption

  suburban train 23:55 20 Feb 2003

just been curious here if i was passing state secrets how would i make the network more secure?

  Gman 00:00 21 Feb 2003

I only mentioned this because there have been documented that determined hackers can overcome the encryption used on the IEEE 802.3 standard but for general home use it shouldn't be a major consideration. i myself use a Belkin wireless network between my home PC and my laptop with no worries set to 128 bit encryption.

  Forum Editor 00:05 21 Feb 2003

and increasingly asked question - particularly in the business world.

All current wireless networking hardware has WEP security built in. This is designed to exclude unauthorised users from accessing wireless networks, but it isn't really able to do that in all situations.

Home wireless networks are normally set up as 'ad hoc' networks, which literally means that new machines can be added to the network on an ad hoc basis. It will be obvious that this is an inherently insecure way of running a network, but it's adequate for almost all home network situations. To access the network an unauthorised user must

a) Know that a network exists.

b) Be physically in range of the wireless transmitter

c) Have a computer equipped with a wireless network card

d) Want to access the network

It's rare for all these criteria to be satisfied in the case of the average home network, so there are few problems.

In the case of business networks however the situation is very different. For a start, the transmitter is more powerful, and can extend the network over a greater area. The there's the fact that confidential data makes hacking the network a far more enticing proposition. Quite apart from that, there's the fact that network hackers can steal internet bandwidth from networks that have permanent and fast internet access, and this has lead to the practice known as warchalking.

The name Warchalking is derived from the 'Wardialing' that was carried out in the early days of network hacking, when hackers used to randomly dial telephone numbers in search of a data tone from a server instead of the normal telephone ringing tone. The true origin of the practice goes back much further than that though - to the hobos who used to ride the freight trains in depression-hit America. These men used to make coded chalk marks on the gates of houses where they received a welcome, and modern wireless warchalkers make similarly coded chalkmarks on the pavements outside office buildings with wireless networks.

The marks tell those in the know that there's a vulnerable network in the building, and I regularly see the marks in the streets of London's West end and city areas. Oxford street has many of them.

There is going to be a new wireless network seurity standard called WPA - one that's more secure. WPA will not be available for a while though, and it will not be compatible with current WEP enabled devices until they have had a software upgrade.

  suburban train 00:13 21 Feb 2003

cheers Forum Editor you know your stuff,

just out interest where do you get all the info from, ive read many interesting threads written by yourself!

  vaughan007 08:18 21 Feb 2003

There has been some great stuff pulished on this topic in loads of magazines. I believe there was an article in PC advisor itself sometime ago. A wireless network can never be truly secure by its very nature, unless your network range stopped at the walls of your building.

Remember, the people keeping these networks secure are no more knowledgable than the people trying to hack them. But lets be honest, I dont think a hacker is going to be too interested in hacking a home network.

  fitshase 10:44 21 Feb 2003

I have a netgear wireless router at home and there is the WEP encryption and also a trusted computer option.

If you are really worried about security, set the WEP encryption up and then also note down your computers' MAC addresses and tell the router to only accept traffic from those specific MAC addresses.

That way, if a hacker comes along and sits on your drive (or in your garden) there will appear to be no network.

I must stress though, there is no such thing as a 100% secure network (wireless or non-wireless, as there will always be someone determined and skilled enough to hack). However, like Forum Editor says, a home wireless network is not really a viable target for a hacker as the wireless signal is ususally confined to the house and the data on the network is normally only valuable to the person who owns the computer.

Hope this helps



  Gaz 25 01:39 22 Feb 2003

Hackers, if they are determined enough they will get through encryiption but for your needs it should be good enough.

Also, some (or the one I have) have a range control and if it goes out of my house (the connection) even by one bit I turn it down so it is only local to where I am using it.

Also make sure all sheres are Password protected and never shere a full HDD, only share the files you need and when you have finished using them on the network shut them off. Also password protect all files individually if you have time.

Make sure you have all the latest Microsoft Updates, also good network administration tools.

When you are away, lock up your network and disable the internet connection.

Make sure all files on the shere are also Microsoft Encryipted.

Hope this helps.

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