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Internet, Networking, and Wireless Discussion of networking, internet, and wireless including Apple's Airport products.

Password protecting a home wireless network


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stevo-m

 
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I've never really thought about this before but I recently heard a story about someone whose computer was hacked into, and it made me think about my wireless network at home and how it isn't password protected. I wouldn't even know how to go about setting up a password for it. I assume that the fact I have never set a password for it, and the fact that my computer just automatically connects to it every time it's switched on, means anyone sitting within a certain radius of my router could, in theory, access the network. Would they be able to access my computer's files etc if they were able to connect to my network? Is this something I should be worrying about?
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Kevriano

 
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Unless they are particularly brilliant at hacking it is very unlikely that they can access your files.
What they can do is leech your broadband connection, and they could be using it for any activity they wanted and no-one would know. You could be blamed for illegal actions you knew nothing about.
Setting up a WEP password is easy, and though not the most secure, it is way better than nothing.
Look in the manual or online at your routers set up proceedure, and it should explain it in there. If not, let us know what router you have and we'll see what we can do.
You can get a WEP key generator at www.versiontracker.com.

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iRock

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevriano View Post
Unless they are particularly brilliant at hacking it is very unlikely that they can access your files.
What they can do is leech your broadband connection, and they could be using it for any activity they wanted and no-one would know. You could be blamed for illegal actions you knew nothing about.
Setting up a WEP password is easy, and though not the most secure, it is way better than nothing.
Look in the manual or online at your routers set up proceedure, and it should explain it in there. If not, let us know what router you have and we'll see what we can do.
You can get a WEP key generator at www.versiontracker.com.


Actually anyone within radius probably is connecting to your network (especially if their computer / iPhone /iPod touch etc) is set to automatically connect to an available wireless network.

These people can view your network shares, take control of your router, leech internet view your personal files very easily.

What router do you use?
WEP can be cracked in seconds using some automated processes.

Use WPA encryption if your device supports it and dont broadcast the SSID.
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Kevriano

 
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Like a man with a built up shoe, I stand corrected.
I didn't realise that it was possible to hack into files via your router though. I can't get my head around how to be honest, but I'm no hacker! And yes WPA is far better of course.
I just suggested at least some protection was needed.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevriano View Post
Like a man with a built up shoe, I stand corrected.
I didn't realise that it was possible to hack into files via your router though. I can't get my head around how to be honest, but I'm no hacker! And yes WPA is far better of course.
I just suggested at least some protection was needed.
You're right of course that WEP is better than nothing - but not much

As soon as someone is connected to your Router, they can normally see or find all other machines connected to that router as well.

Once they have that access they can try to break into the machine almost as if they were sitting in front of it at the login screen. It's not easy, but probably not impossible either.
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stevo-m

 
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Thanks for your replies.

I don't know anything about WEP or WPA, however I've just logged onto my router's page and the only thing it mentions is WEP. I've set a password for it and it generated a key. I think that means it's password protected now, as I was disconnected and had to manually select my network from the Airport menu and enter the new key to access it. It's worked, but does this mean I'll now have to enter that key every time I turn on the computer? Or will it store it and only ask for it if someone else on another device tries to access the network?

I take it there's no way for me to use WPA if it doesn't appear an an option on my router's set up page?

What do I do about the SSID?
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Check your firmware manufacturers page and see if they have an upgrade for your device that enables WPA2 as well.

You should be able to store the passphrase in your keychain... Don't bother about hiding the SSID, most scanning tools find the network anyway, so the only person who'll be bothered by a hidden ssid is you...
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You still haven't told us what kind of router you have. I would be very surprised if WPA wasn't an option. Are you sure? Even my $5 wireless router has WPA...furthermore go with WPA2-PSK (AES). Google that other stuff for details. I agree with aptmunich about the SSID.

Something else related to internet security that nobody has mentioned here is enabling your firewall. Yes, most routers have a firewall, but if we are supposing someone can breach your router's defenses... Enable your Firewall in System Preferences...Sharing...Firewall tab. Click Start.
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Like Neo said, What Brand and Model is your router? Let us know and we can better help you. OSX will remember the key so you will not have to enter it the next time you log in, but be sure to check the box that says to remember the key in the keychain.
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stevo-m

 
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My router is a Netgear MR814v2tw. It is quite old, so I'm not sure if it would be compatible with newer security measures or whatever.

I've wondered about my firewall for a while. I've never had any problems that I'm aware of, but I'm not actually sure how to use it. It's not in the 'sharing' panel of my system preferences, it's in 'security', and there's no 'start' button, it just has three radio buttons:

- Allow all incoming connections
- Block all incoming connections
- Set access for specific services and applications

Mine was set to the first option. Should I have it set to something else?
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karudzo

 
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Invest in a new router.
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Neo

 
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block all incoming traffic
and yeah, buy a new router. Your router was released in Nov 2002, and I think WPA was developed in 2003.
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