Is your wireless network secure?

  Forum Editor 11:05 04 Feb 06
Locked

I'm doing a piece for the magazine about securing wireless networks, and I need some feedback - have you tried to make your own network secure, and if so, did you find it an easy task, or did you become hopelessly lost in your router's configuration settings?

As ever, if you do NOT want me to quote your real name in print, please say so in your post.

I'm posting the same thread in our Network forum.

  spuds 11:42 04 Feb 06

Is this to do with the PCA poll!.

Personally, I tried to go wireless, but gave up and returned to wired. Always reading and thinking of possible security flaws, eventually made my mind up.

  Forum Editor 11:49 04 Feb 06

In a roundabout way, yes.

Possible security flaws? There's only one really, isn't there? That's the fear of unauthorised access, and if you secure your router properly the chances of that happening are frankly so remote as to be not worth worrying about.

  Minkey1 12:25 04 Feb 06

After some initial setting up problems, I bottled it and left it at

1. Specified MAC addresses only
2. Disable broadcast SSID

I know that I should use whatever encryption is available, but everything works fine now and I just don't want to mess it up for what is (hopefully) a fairly remote risk. Our network is 1 desktop and printer and between 2 & 4 laptops, depending on who's home.

I do however regularly check the router's DHCP table and list of Wireless Clients, never seen a "visitor" yet.

I'm a wimp I know.

Mike

  mco 13:01 04 Feb 06

BT broadband wireless with 6 figure encryption. I know it is secure because yesterday when I was out at work someone came round to see other half re work and tried to get on our internet with their laptop - got the signal but couldn't connect. Amazingly they were rather miffed- I was dead chuffed!

  Haol 13:41 04 Feb 06

Mine definitely is!

  IPA 14:23 04 Feb 06

Setting up wi-fi was not too onerous but when it came so security I will admit that this was where I ran into difficulty.

The router instructions were fairly comprehensive but I think they assumed a far better understanding of the subject than I possessed. After reading and re-reading pages of techno language I could feel my eyes getting heavier and slowly closing , hardly understanding anything except the basics.

Eventually I managed to set wpa psk and can only hope that this is sufficient . Loads of other settings I left well alone as quite frankly they were beyond me.

It all seems to work and my pc now tells me that I am secure. Well I hope so?

Forum name only please.

  ade.h 14:37 04 Feb 06

Rock solid; a WPA pre-shared key of about fifteen letters/numbers/symbols, a login password on the config page (bit pointless having WPA if you don't lock down the config page!) and no SSID broadcast.

  De Marcus™ 15:43 04 Feb 06

The first month with this wireless network I was pretty much only tied down to MAC address filtering, it was more of a quickness thing up until I realised just how many wireless networks in my area they were, 5 in total, 4 insecure.

Then one lazy Sunday afternoon I decided to try to turn on all the bells and whistles, my network is now running fairly secure( hopefully), WPA-PSK is enabled, SSID broadcast is switched off (sorry snoopers), login page password consists of 14 characters and symbols, firewall is enabled and that's about as far as I got. Within the routers configuration pages live even more settings, which I'm sure could help make me more secure, but I think that's for the ultra secure conscious out there, the fact that I live in an area with 4 insecure networks makes me think, what threat do I have from these people if they can't, don't or won't secure their own networks. Then again, most of my surfing habits amount to drivel and wouldn't interest the most boring people, work is carried out on the LAN connected machine.

  siouxah1 15:47 04 Feb 06

>

  ade.h 15:50 04 Feb 06

You've covered all the settings that you need, I think.

As for the risk; now that you're secure, any wardrivers in your neighbourhood won't bother with you even for moment while there are still four open networks to piggyback. Other network users aren't really a threat.

We occasionally get what look suspiciously like wardrivers in our street; there are a lot networks in the area, most of which are secured, but not all.

Basically, what they are primarily after is free net access; they'll use up the capped download limit of anyone daft enough to leave their network open.

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