Home Network Security

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Edward W. Thompson, Jul 10, 2004.

  1. I am a newby wrt to home wireless networking so bear with this basic
    question and the assistance I am requesting.

    I have just set up a home wireless network between a desktop and a laptop.
    Both machines have WINXP Pro installed with the WAP update. I am using a
    3com ADSL router hard wired to the desktop. During the setup I didn't
    initiate either WEP or WAP and am using the default SSID (3com) and Channel
    11. The system is working perfectly wrt to file and printer sharing and
    internet so I am very reluctant to do anything to "screw it up".
    Nevertheless everything I have read indicates I should "install" WAP in
    preference to WEP for security, my problem is I don't really know where to
    begin. I have searched Google and found lots of articles on this subject
    but most are more sophisticated than I can really deal with at this stage in
    my learning process. I really need a WAP setup for Dummies set of
    instructions. I think I need to enter the router setup web site and start
    there but again I just don't know.

    I recognise that as I live in a rural area, it is likely that I don't need
    anything as it is highly improbable that anyone would want to "hack" into my
    system, but who knows?

    I would appreciate any advice and pointers to where I might find a simple
    guide to setting up security on my wireless network.
    Edward W. Thompson, Jul 10, 2004
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  2. Edward W. Thompson

    Jack Guest

    Jack, Jul 11, 2004
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  3. Realistically, for a personal network in a rural area I think 128bit
    WEP should be more than sufficient. After all, it should take days,
    possibly even weeks for even the best hacker to crack a decent WEP
    key. And to do this they'd have to spend huge amounts of time parked
    outside your house sniffing the packets being broadcast by your
    network. They'd have to ask themselves if you're really worth the
    effort and probably the answer is no. Change your WEP key every so
    often and they are back to square one each time.

    Nevertheless, if WPA is an option, it is (very) considerably more
    difficult to crack and, in the case of WPA-PSK probably easier to use
    as all you have to do is create a key, preferably a ridiculously long
    one, and input it on each machine you wish to connect to the network.

    Mine is 58 charactors, including both upper and lower case letters, as
    well as numbers and some ascii symbols. It is a sequence which I can
    memorise because of the way it is structured but would appear as total
    gibberish to everyone.

    I am no expert but my personal recommendations would be:

    1. Change the router password.
    2. Change the default SSID but not to anything which shouts "Edward
    Thompson's Network come on in".
    3. Set up MAC address filtering.
    4. Turn on encryption (either 128bit WEP or WPA-PSK).

    There are other things you can do to further inconvenience people,
    such as heavily restricting access to (and control of) shared files on
    the network, using unusual IP addresses for local computers,
    installation of software firewalls on local machines etc. but if you
    are not comfortable with this level of fiddling, don't be concerned
    because the likelihood is that anyone detecting WEP will just drive on
    to find an easier target.

    As for how to do steps 1-4 they should be clear from instructions for
    your router. If the router supports WPA, and 3Com OfficeConnect
    routers do, then I'd recommend using it. Define your key as you see
    fit and simply input it as the WPA key on each machine when you try to

    Any probs, let us know, we'll be here :)
    Simon Pleasants, Jul 13, 2004
  4. Philip Herlihy, Jul 15, 2004
  5. Edward W. Thompson

    Mac Guest

    Mac, Jul 27, 2004
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