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jpr62902
12-31-2005, 03:57 PM
I just set up my new wireless internet router for my new laptop, and I was wondering how secure the WEP encryption is. I was shocked to see 3 or 4 of my neighbors' wireless connections show up when I searched for my network on my laptop. They all came up as unsecured.

Security is a concern for me on a professional level since my laptop is mainly for work issues and client confidentiality must be preserved. That said, when I'm viewing client info online (secure website) is the WEP encryption enough so that some cyber punk parked in front of my house can't view my clients' info?

Doc
12-31-2005, 04:03 PM
Good question. Sorry I can't help ...but I'm thinking of going wireless on the homefront and will be interested in the answers you get.

bczoom
12-31-2005, 04:07 PM
Good question. Sorry I can't help ...but I'm thinking of going wireless on the homefront and will be interested in the answers you get.
What Doc said.

AndyM
12-31-2005, 04:25 PM
I just set up a home network in the past couple months...
It's still a work in progress, so I still have to figure out security issues, etc. I've only seen my own wireless connection appear, but I still turn off my DSL modem when I'm not around... I'll have to sort through setting up the security details during the new year. Sorry I can't help.


As a side note, it sure is nice being able to be on the laptop in any room in the house (or outside), access files on my desktop computer, and print on either of my printers, with no wires hooked up into the laptop. I should have done this a while ago!

PBinWA
12-31-2005, 04:43 PM
WEP is OK but it's not going to keep a determined hacker out. Are you going to be the target of a determined hacker? Do your neighbors seem trustworthy or do they have teenagers that could have maliscious curiosity?

I don't have any encryption on my WIFI but if you are close enough to get a signal then you are trespassing and there is probably 1-2 large dogs running your way and some large gun is getting retrieved.:eek:

You may want to consider a router/card combo that supports WPA. You can also do some basic things like setting the router admin interface to only allow administration over a wired connection. MAC address filtering is also good if your router supports it. Basically, lock it down and make it difficult to administer and access and it will probably be more than secure enough.

Security is relative to inconvenience. The more inconvenient it is for an authorized person to access something then it is more likely that it is secure.

jpr62902
12-31-2005, 05:04 PM
Thanks for the responses, everyone. Yup. Sure is nice being in the basement, watching the bigscreen and checking my email.

I understand that no encryption is totally secure, but I certainly don't want to be the lowest fruit on the tree. My concerns were raised when I logged on a website and it gave me a message that I was sending unencrypted info, which obviously is a concern. Is the info sent over the net unencrypted, or the info sent to\from my router unencrypted?

Doc
12-31-2005, 05:24 PM
It all depends on the type of traffic.
http is sent in the clear.
if the website is https the s stands for secure. and you'll see a little lock in the lower right hand corner.
telnet is never secure
ssh is a secure telnet so to speak.

PBinWA
12-31-2005, 05:25 PM
Thanks for the responses, everyone. Yup. Sure is nice being in the basement, watching the bigscreen and checking my email.

I understand that no encryption is totally secure, but I certainly don't want to be the lowest fruit on the tree. My concerns were raised when I logged on a website and it gave me a message that I was sending unencrypted info, which obviously is a concern. Is the info sent over the net unencrypted, or the info sent to\from my router unencrypted?

Is this a new computer? That warning sounds like it was from your web browser and probably had nothing to do with your WIFI connection. What OS and Version are you running? Do you have any firewall stuff installed?

Big Dog
12-31-2005, 05:35 PM
I just set up a home network in the past couple months...
It's still a work in progress, so I still have to figure out security issues, etc. I've only seen my own wireless connection appear, but I still turn off my DSL modem when I'm not around... I'll have to sort through setting up the security details during the new year. Sorry I can't help.


As a side note, it sure is nice being able to be on the laptop in any room in the house (or outside), access files on my desktop computer, and print on either of my printers, with no wires hooked up into the laptop. I should have done this a while ago!

Andy,
Could you throw me a line as to how to setup the printers. I've given it a lame try but maybe you could help. I didn't have trouble when I was hard wired but this wireless is giving me some problems with the printers.
Thanks,
Greg

AndyM
12-31-2005, 06:06 PM
Andy,
Could you throw me a line as to how to setup the printers. I've given it a lame try but maybe you could help. I didn't have trouble when I was hard wired but this wireless is giving me some problems with the printers.
Thanks,
Greg

I'm by no means an expert at this, as I'm just figuring out the wireless networking thing myself, so someone else can chime in if there's an easier way. This is all assuming you have already networked your laptop to your other computer...

Go to the "Control Panel" on the computer that your printers are plugged into, then click on "Printers and Faxes". Single click on the printer that you wish to share, then click "set printer properties". (I'm using Windows XP). The second tab from the left is called "Sharing". Click the button next to "Share this printer", then click "OK".

On the other computer, go to the "Control Panel", then "Printers and Faxes". On the left side, click "Add a Printer". Run through the Add Printer Wizard, and click on the choice that says you want to add "A network printer, or a printer attached to another computer". Then I just clicked "Browse for a printer" and clicked on the printer when it showed up on the list. Then I just clicked on the remaining questions in the Add Printer Wizard.

I added both of my printers, but I hope to get a cheap laser printer in the near future too. It's pretty neat to sit with the laptop with no wires attached and hear the printer running in the other room!

thcri
12-31-2005, 06:13 PM
Security is a concern for me on a professional level since my laptop is mainly for work issues and client confidentiality must be preserved.


I think your best defense is to call the manufacture of your router and have them help you set it up. The other thing that I have found, when opening mine up is people can see it and can use it to connect to the internet but they can't see my computer as it is password protected. My neighbors have open unsecured connections and I can use their connections to the internet but I can't see their computers.

I am not saying the above to make you feel better or more secure, just make sure you get the proper people to help you out. I have a Linksys which has online support where you can talk to a technician. Helped me a lot. Also the best thing is to change the default password to your router. That way a hacker has to figure out your password before he can get any plaace.

murph

OkeeDon
12-31-2005, 07:02 PM
I have no idea what a determined hacker can do and what defenses can be set up, but as far as a casual user is concerned, you should have no worries about your wireless setup even if you do not run WEP.

Why do I say this? You mentioned you could see several of your neighbors' wifi setups. Can you see any of the traffic from their computer to the internet? Can you even tell whether they have a computer on line? My bet is that your computer can tell there's a wifi router out there, and is perfectly willing to hook you up to any of them, but you won't be able to see any other computers hooked to the router, nor will the owner of the router be able to tell that you're using his hookup.

That's providing that you don't know the name of his workgroup (if any) that he may have set up to network his several computers over the network switch provided by the router. If he has set up such an intranet, and you can get the name of the workgroup, and he (or you) have your computers wide-open by setting up the "share" for everything, then you will be able to see what he is sharing.

In other words, as long as no one knows more about it than you or I, you're safe. Like I said in the beginning, I don't know what a dedicated hacker can do. However, I also think I'd know if a dedicated hacker was sitting in my driveway...I'd say the chances are so remote as to make it not worth the effort to spell "worry"...

Melensdad
12-31-2005, 07:41 PM
I leave my wireless network at the house wide open. The range is short enough that you'd have to be well inside my property line to use it. It also makes it easy for me if I bring home a different laptop from work other than my normal unit, I don't have to jump through security hoops to connect up. But also remember that most of us with wireless networks use laptops. So if you are using laptops then you probably close the lid when you are not on line??? If so, the only way a hacker can get into your computer is when you are actually on-line and using it. Now if I could recieve other signals, I probably would use WAP encryption, but I wouldn't worry about going beyond that. At work we have a couple wireless routers set up, one that is in a semi-public area has WAP set up, the other does not. My computer guys are not worried at all about the security of the one that is NOT set up with WAP encryption.

I'm going to agree with the others who say it is not a major worry, even if you can detect other networks and they can detect yours, the distance to your neighbors is likely far enough (perhaps 75') to have a dramatic slow down in connection speed that you'd likely never have them actually using your connection and visa-versa.

OregonAlex
12-31-2005, 09:09 PM
I just set up my new wireless internet router for my new laptop, and I was wondering how secure the WEP encryption is.

I was wondering the same thing myself. So I surfed the internet to find a tool that would crack my own WEP key. The tool was easy to find, I believe it was a free "legal" tool used by IT folks to make sure their infrastructure was secure, and was availabe on oreilly's web page. Anyhow it cracked my 64 bit key in about 5 minutes. With the right WiFi card in a laptop and a directional antenna you can get pretty good range if the access point is within line of sight.

If you absolutely must use WEP.. at least find a access point which does not advertise the SSID. Making your access point invisible to everyone except clients which know the SSID ahead of time.

DAP
01-03-2006, 06:32 PM
Some simple facts to help:

If per say you are using a netGear 8.0.11G wireless router - to secure yourself from the electo bandiditos ... disable MAC Address Broadcasting ... use a WPA Key and you should be just fine. Trust me.

If you like to be even further bullet proof and are not using the router for networking operations, make sure you do NOT share files and folders.

You won't be hacked. You've got nothing they want in all likelihood. If they are just trying to get past your firewall ... they're not going to be able to do much else and would be much happier busting into a computer scenario that would draw some attention.

Remember, disable your MAC address broadcasting and use a key on your router setup and you will be snug as a bug in a rug.