How does hiding the 802.11 SSID offer any security at all?

Discussion in 'Broadband Hardware' started by barb, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. barb

    barb Guest

    Does hiding the SSID broadcase really offer any wireless protection?

    I read with interest an article that says to turn off the broadcast of your
    SSID. Guess what? My two-computer home wireless network stopped working as
    soon as I booted one of WinXP PCs with the Linksys router turned off.

    To recover, I had to go through the entire setup process all over again
    just to get the WinXP Wireless Zero Service to again understand the SSID.

    What is going on?
    Is it really feasible to turn off the broadcast of the SSID?
    Or is it so much BS from folks who need to write something to stay in
    business?

    Is there any way to tell the WinXP PC to look for a certain SSID that isn't
    broadcast without having to reconfigure the router every single time?

    Confused,
    barb
     
    barb, Aug 6, 2006
    #1
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  2. barb

    barb Guest

    Here is an O'Reilly article that says to hide your SSID and to change your
    broadcast channel for added security.
    http://www.windowsdevcenter.com/pub/a/windows/2005/04/19/WiFiHacks.html

    Is this snake oil?

    For example, as I already stated, if I change my SSID and then boot up
    without the router powered on, there is no way (that I know of) to tell my
    WinXP wireless applet the SSID (or am I missing something).

    Likewise, if I were to change my channel, I mean how many channels are
    there? Wouldn't anyone who wanted to get onto my network just scroll down
    to the next channel? Are there an infinite number of channels or a finite
    number of channels?

    All this seems like snake oil to me.

    QUESTION 1:
    Once I stop broadcasting my SSID, how do I tell WinXP to use that SSID?

    QUESTION 2:
    If I change my channel, how long would it take a hacker to figure out
    which channel I changed it to?

    Thanks in advance for your advice,
    barb
     
    barb, Aug 6, 2006
    #2
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  3. barb

    barb Guest

    If I have one older computer which doesn't support WPA (only WEP) and one
    newer computer which does support WPA and a router which does support WPA,
    can I use WPA?

    I thought we had to have all home computers on the same "standard"
    encryption which means only WEP would work in my home network due to the
    older computer.

    Am I wrong?
    Can I use WEP on one computer and WPA on the other?

    barb
     
    barb, Aug 6, 2006
    #3
  4. barb

    barb Guest

    Likewise with limiting to the known MAC IDs.

    Couldn't a hacker simply sniff out the MAC ID used in every packet and
    simply spoof that MAC ID?

    barb
     
    barb, Aug 6, 2006
    #4
  5. barb

    barb Guest

    Likewise with chaning to a static IP as suggested in this article on
    wireless network security:

    http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1152933,00.asp
    which says: "Many wireless routers default to the 192.168.1.0 network
    and use 192.168.1.1 as the default router.
    We discovered one network that didn't give us an IP address,
    but we assumed that they were using the defaults.
    We were right. We configured our notebook with an IP
    address in the 192.168.1.0 network using 192.168.1.1
    as the router address, and we had access to the
    Internet through their network."

    What I don't get is you'd have to change the entire class of addresses(ie
    subnet mask) to stop someone from connecting wouldn't you? For example, if
    I changed the Linksys router IP address from 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.66,
    anyone could STILL connect from a foreign PC simply by choosing any IP
    address in the range of 192.168.1.[0 to 255].

    Even if I change the subnet mask from 255.255.255.0 to 255.255.0.0, doesn't
    that just open up MORE IP addresses that can connect to my network?

    I'm so confused by these articles on wireless security. Can you help me
    make sense of their recommendations to sort out the snake oil from the
    practical?

    thanks,
    barb
     
    barb, Aug 6, 2006
    #5
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