View Full Version : Wireless Security (general question)

03-10-2004, 02:30 PM
I know that current wireless security is anything but secure, and that future standards are coming (WPA is basically here but not in our CLIE's). Here are the safety precautions that I know you can take-

1. Use 128-bit WEP encryption (FWIW)
2. Disable SSID broadcast
3. Use MAC filtering
4. Change your router password and SSID (obviously!)
5. Disable ad-hoc networking on your computers (especially notebooks)

If one does these things from the beginning (so no info can be gleaned like your SSID or MAC addresses), how vulnerable is such a network?

These are the only steps I know of, steps that a TH/UX/NX owner can implement on their $20 router at home.

I know this is a non-CLIE question, but it seems there are at least a few wireless experts here. Plus this is very good general information for anyone going wireless.


03-10-2004, 09:49 PM
While those are good steps, you are right, there are better security methods available.

1. Disable SSID - Even the most stupid of hackers can get your SSID even though it's not being broadcast by using Snort, NetStumbler and the likes. The SSID is still out there, it's just that your PC won't 'ordinarily' see it.

2. Once you get the SSID, you use a packet analyzer to figure out the WEP key. This will take varying amounts of time, mostly depending on the amount of data gathered and the speed of the machine.

3. After WEP is broken, all you have to do is find a MAC that is broadcasting. This is probably one of the more difficult steps, but it can still be done. Then you have to have a wifi card that allows you to change the MAC address.

After all that, you can get on someone's wifi network. Of course, this does take many days of sitting out in a car, with the right equipment, and trying to go unnoticed. All of this is slightly easier if you live in close proximity(like an apartment). So yes, while it is possible to hack a network like the one you are talking about, it's usually not worth the time and effort to get into your personal porn collection....:D Just kidding. If you've done all that, then you are one of the 10%(maybe) of all wifi owners that knows something about wireless and has taken steps to protect your network.

IMHO, I wouldn't really worry about it. Your home LAN just isn't as important to a hacker as a corporate LAN.

03-10-2004, 10:31 PM
I have baught a Tj37 recently.In our university WPA is 128 bit encrypted and the key is provided automatically but this method(automatic) is not provided in the menu.any idea how to fix it?

03-11-2004, 11:29 AM
Thanks cerberus, that's EXACTLY what I was looking for. I will probably be setting up a wireless LAN at a small office as well. This gives me a better idea of the risks.

It seems like if I make sure I'm aware of how far the WLAN extends, I'll know to look out for any suspicious characters...Of course an adjacent office would be the best location, but you wouldn't expect that to happen.

I think I somewhat understand the allure of hacking. It would be interesting to hack into my own network, just to go through the process. One of my neighbors has a WLAN that shows up sometimes on my laptop, but I don't want to go there-

BTW, I have a pretty good porn collection... ;)

03-11-2004, 11:49 AM
I'm glad to hear that I helped you out! Yes, knowing the range of your WLAN is a GREAT thing to do. I setup wireless at the In-Law's house about 6 months ago. They are running totally open as you can't get ANY signal outside of their walls. I'm not sure what they have in their walls, but it apparently stops everything. Now my apartment is a different story. I've got my 11g net locked up pretty tight. I have WPA RADIUS setup, but I can't run it because of the Clie. I scan every now and then to see if any of the neighbors have wifi. Those are the ones that I'd worry about. But, when you can connect to their system with no problem, that pretty much tells me they have no clue as far as wireless is concerned. :)

In an office setting, you have more to worry about in people setting up their own rogue APs on your net. Those are the ones that would let someone in. I've had that happen before. We had a wifi network running where the 'executives' stayed mostly(in one building) and wired throughout the other. In scanning one day, we came across another AP. We connected to it and found that we were back into our own network. As a result, we checked all the hard wires and finally found that one of our employees had setup his own AP just so he could wifi sync a PDA. To make things worse, it wasn't even a Palm(or Sony model)! :D In the end, he got into some major trouble and we haven't found another yet.

03-11-2004, 11:58 AM
Originally posted by ANOOSH666
I have baught a Tj37 recently.In our university WPA is 128 bit encrypted and the key is provided automatically but this method(automatic) is not provided in the menu.any idea how to fix it?

Sony CLIE's do not offer WPA right now. I don't believe any PDA's do. Are you sure you're not confusing it with WEP?

WPA is a new protection system that is just now rolling out, I'm not sure when we would expect it in PDA's. Maybe software updates will be possible.

03-11-2004, 04:56 PM
Unfortunetly yeah.
Our university is using IEEE802.1x standard and EAP-PEAP for authentication so there is no fixed WEP anymore. And thats where the problem starts:D