Six quick wireless security tips

Discussion in 'Network questions and troubleshooting' started by Finchwizard, Dec 23, 2004.

  1. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    Plan antenna placement
    The first step in implementing a closed wireless access point is to place the access point's antenna in such a way that it limits how much the signal can reach areas outside the coverage area. Don't place the antenna near a window, as the glass does not block the signal. Ideally, your antenna will be placed in the centre of the area you want covered with as little signal leaking outside the walls as possible. Of course, it's next to impossible to completely control this, so other measures need to be taken as well.


    Use WEP/WPA
    Wireless encryption protocol (WEP) is a standard method to encrypt traffic over a wireless network. While it has major weaknesses, it is useful in deterring casual hackers. Many wireless access point vendors ship their units with WEP disabled in order to make the product installation easier. This practice gives hackers immediate access to the traffic on a wireless network as soon as it goes into production since the data is directly readable with a wireless sniffer.


    Change the SSID and disable its broadcast
    The Service Set Identifier (SSID) is the identification string used by the wireless access point by which clients are able to initiate connections. This identifier is set by the manufacturer and each one uses a default phrase, such as "101" for 3Com devices. hackers that know these pass phrases can easily make unauthorised use of your wireless services. For each wireless access point you deploy, choose a unique and difficult-to-guess SSID, and, if possible, suppress the broadcast of this identifier out over the antenna so that your network is not broadcast for use. It will still be usable, but it won't show up in a list of available networks.


    Disable DHCP
    At first, this may sound like a strange security tactic, but for wireless networks, it makes sense. With this step, hackers would be forced to decipher your IP address, subnet mask, and other required TCP/IP parameters. If a hacker is able to make use of your access point for whatever reason, he or she will still need to figure out your IP addressing as well.


    Disable or modify SNMP settings
    If your access point supports SNMP, either disable it or change both the public and private community strings. If you don't take this step, hackers can use SNMP to gain important information about your network.


    Use access lists / MAC Filtering
    To further lock down your wireless network, implement an access list, if possible. Not all wireless access points support this feature, but if yours does, it will allow you to specify exactly what machines are allowed to connect to your access point. The access points that support this feature can sometimes use Trivial File Transfer Protocol (TFTP) to periodically download updated lists in order to prevent the administrative nightmare of having to sync these lists on every unit.
    Using MAC address filtering also improves your security drastically.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2004
  2. GKZ

    GKZ Master Guru

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    I'd really like to suggest a simple solution (also promoting Finchwizard's MAC filtering idea)..

    If you have a small network (like one, maybe up to 10, maybe even more) the BEST way is to quite simply allow ONLY the MAC addresses you put into the router. Linksys routers can hold up to 25 at least. This is a 100% chance that everyone on your router is either wired in, or has been manually put in. This really is a fantastic tool...

    AFAIK all Linksys' routers have this, I'm sure that others do...
     
  3. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    Yeah, network I'm on has about 10 laptops with Wireless, I always Add the MAC addresses and ONLY allow access to anything via those.

    Very good, lets you keep track of who wants access too.
     
  4. AJ²06

    AJ²06 Ancient Guru

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    Im confused.... and Im about to get a wireless network started... :woried:
     

  5. AJ²06

    AJ²06 Ancient Guru

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    OMG... HEY a question. I kinda understand things now but I ran into a major problem... I have a neatgear wireless card and it connects to the network [I can access my shared files], but I cant use the internet on that laptop... what am I doing wrong. THANX Finch...

    ps... I know this might be what u guys consider thread hijacking... :p
     
  6. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    It is, but make sure your DNS Servers are set to point to your Router.
     
  7. AJ²06

    AJ²06 Ancient Guru

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    The routers IP?... right. It is like that and its still a no go... :(
     
  8. GKZ

    GKZ Master Guru

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    Since you're on a small network, a static IP should be no problem for you (in fact more of a convenience). Simply go to your WLAN's protocol properties (which should be titled Internet Procotol TCP/IP). Specify the IP address that DHCP leased you, then for DNS servers...

    I generally do one of two methods:
    -Get on your desktop (which has Internet, I'm assuming, and in the prompt type: tracert www.google.com Copy two of the IP addresses (I suggest the third and fourth hop) and put them into your DNS entries on your lappy's WLAN.

    -Google your ISP's DNS servers, and use those.
     
  9. SniperDaws

    SniperDaws Banned

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    Might be a good idea to let people know they can change there default router address aswell as another security measure, ive only just realised you can change it from the default 192.168.0.1.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2005
  10. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    Hey mate, sorry, I'm actually on holidays, haven't spent much time near a computer.

    You can change the default IP, not a huge advantage though, changing default passwords definitely though.
     

  11. SniperDaws

    SniperDaws Banned

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    No probs mate i know how it is, ill be asking questions after new year though.....lol
     
  12. AJ²06

    AJ²06 Ancient Guru

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    YES>... I got it now. :) I contacted the SBC ppl and they told me to change this and that and I had to changes the values of my IP and DNS servers to the ones they gave me. ANY idea why that would change all of a sudden? I mean before I had the values on "automatic".... HMMM>>>>???
     
  13. Kon$olE

    Kon$olE Ancient Guru

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    I cant understand all the hoop-lah (or however you speel that...) about wireless security. Maybe its cause i live in a place were im 100% sure nobody will/knows how to hack, but i dont see the purpose. Many of the houses surrounding me also have wireless, and i occasionaly get their signal.

    What could someone do with an unprotected signal? Wouldnt the security depend mostly on the computer they are trying to damage/infect?
     
  14. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    They can use your Internet connection, scan your computers, get into your computers, use them as Spam relays, upload virus's to send out, you name it really.

    It's not hard if you know what your doing, and it's just a safety precaution, you should secure it regardless.
     
  15. Kon$olE

    Kon$olE Ancient Guru

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    Undersandable, really. Its nice to know that your safe from thing/people like that, even if it takes a bit to do it.
    I like to think im providing a service by leaving it open, kinda like im donating an internet connection to those who dont have one.

    I guess i'll follow the above tips tommorow.
     

  16. Clements

    Clements Master Guru

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    Too many people leave their wireless networks completely unprotected, and it's very easy to steal their connection - especially with wireless now the standard on laptops. This is a good tutorial to help stop the leechers from tapping in. At home, I personally use a wired network as for me it worked out much cheaper, as my computers were both equipped with Gigabit Ethernet and are in the same room.
     
  17. Advis

    Advis Master Guru

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    This could do with updating a bit. I have a few pointers If you want to discuss Finchwizard?
     
  18. Finchwizard

    Finchwizard Don Apple

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    Actually they are still valid.

    Only thing that may have changed is WEP, although I'm not a user of WAP or anything.
     
  19. Advis

    Advis Master Guru

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    Most are still valid. The part about WEP needs changing : it's very insecure any anybody can break it with the right tools. WPA is better if you use a 63 charecter key, but it is still not perfect in all respects. Also MAC address spoofing relegates MAC filtering more or less down to idiot proofing a network.
     
  20. aircool

    aircool Don Aircooleone Staff Member

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    if you want to increase your range outside place your router near a window as it radiates the signal and thus better range
     

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