Saturday, December 25, 2004

Secure that wireless LAN

One of the prks of my job is that vendors send us equipment to play around with. They often send us several copies of the same unit, so we can take one home and use it on a daily basis to wring it out. Hence the new Netgear WG602 wireless access point I installed this morning. Setup was pretty straightforward, although you do need to connect to the box with an Ethernet cable to login and configure the wireless settings before you can connect wirelessly.

This brings me to the main point of this post: Secure that wireless LAN!

When my iBook booted up, it detected a wireless LAN belonging to one of my neighbors. It is wide open. I was not only able to get an IP and get onto the Internet, I was able to login to his wireless router because it still had the factory default settings.

Tips for securing a wireless network:
  1. When setting it up, change the default administrative password.
  2. After you have your clients associated with the access point, disable SSID broadcast.
  3. Enable WPA or WEP encryption.
  4. Enable MAC filtering, which limits what wireless cards can associate, using their hardware addresses.
  5. Disable DHCP and manually configure the IP settings of your wireless clients.
A wireless network by its very nature won't be as secure as a wired Ethernet, but you can make things a lot more difficult for would-be interlopers.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't it be neat to load it up with virusses so that anyone trying to connect and steal your bandwith gets infected.
You know, the Christmass spirit and being generous and all that, giving out IP addresses and worms and trojans along [G]

-Sjon-

Dave Markowitz said...

Sjon,

You are a sick man.

That's cool. :-)

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