Dawud Networking Security Notes

Most WLAN hardware has gotten easy enough to set up that many users simply plug it in and start using the network without giving much thought to security. Nevertheless, taking a few extra minutes to con gure the security features of your wireless router or access point is time well spent. Here are some of the things you can do to protect your wireless network:

1) Secure your wireless router or access point administration interface Almost all routers and access points have an administrator password that's needed to log into the device and modify any con guration settings. Most devices use a weak default password like "password" or the manufacturer's name, and some don't have a default password at all. As soon as you set up a new WLAN router or access point, your rst step should be to change the default password to something else. You may not use this password very often, so be sure to write it down in a safe place so you can refer to it if needed. Without it, the only way to access the router or access point may be to reset it to factory default settings which will wipe away any con guration changes you've made. 2) Don't broadcast your SSID Most WLAN access points and routers automatically (and continually) broadcast the network's name, or SSID (Service Set IDenti er). This makes setting up wireless clients extremely convenient since you can locate a WLAN without having to know what it's called, but it will also make your WLAN visible to any wireless systems within range of it. Turning o SSID broadcast for your network makes it invisible to your neighbors and passers-by (though it will still be detectible by WLAN "sni ers"). 3)Enable WPA encryption instead of WEP 802.11's WEP (Wired Equivalency Privacy) encryption has well-known weaknesses that make it relatively easy for a determined user with the right equipment to crack the encryption and access the wireless network. A better way to protect your WLAN is with WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). WPA provides much better protection and is also easier to use, since your password characters aren't limited to 0-9 and A-F as they are with WEP. WPA support is built into Windows XP (with the latest Service Pack) and virtually all modern wireless hardware and operating systems. A more recent version, WPA2, is found in newer hardware and provides even stronger encryption, but you'll probably need to download an XP patch in order to use it. 4) Remember that WEP is better than nothing If you nd that some of your wireless devices only support WEP encryption (this is often the case with non-PC devices like media players, PDAs, and DVRs), avoid the temptation to skip encryption entirely because in spite of it's aws, using WEP is still far superior to having no encryption at all. If you do use WEP, don't use an encryption key that's easy to guess like a string of the same or consecutive numbers. Also, although it can be a pain, WEP users should change encryption keys often-- preferably every week. 5) Use MAC ltering for access control Unlike IP addresses, MAC addresses are unique to speci c network adapters, so by turning on MAC ltering you can limit network access to only your systems (or those you know about). In order to use MAC ltering you need to nd (and enter into the router or AP) the 12-character MAC address of every system that will connect to the network, so it can be inconvenient to set up, especially if you have a lot of wireless clients or if your clients change a lot. MAC addresses can be "spoofed" (imitated) by a knowledgable person, so while it's not a guarantee of security, it does add another hurdle for potential intruders to jump. 6) Reduce your WLAN transmitter power You won't nd this feature on all wireless routers and access points, but some allow you lower the power of your WLAN transmitter and thus reduce the range of the signal. Although it's usually impossible to ne-tune a signal so precisely that it won't leak outside your home or business, with some trial-and-error you can often limit how far outside your premises the signal reaches, minimizing the opportunity for outsiders to access your WLAN. 7) Disable remote administration Most WLAN routers have the ability to be remotely administered via the Internet. Ideally, you should use this feature only if it lets you de ne a speci c IP address or limited range of addresses that will be able to access the router. Otherwise, almost anyone anywhere could potentially nd and access your router. As a rule, unless you absolutely need this capability, it's best to keep remote administration turned o . (It's usually turned o by default, but it's always a good idea to check.)

Open your router settings page First. . otherwise go with WPA2. changing the SSID name of your network is a good idea as it will make it more obvious for others to know which network they are connecting to. inside a shoe box or wrap a foil around the router antennas so that you can somewhat restrict the direction of signals.168.1” into your web browser. all your wireless devices have a unique MAC address (this has nothing to do with an Apple Mac) just like every computer connected to the Internet has a unique IP address. it can be easily cracked*. linksys). To enable encryption on your Wireless network. Usually you can do this by typing in “192. Don’t use your name. WEP is basic encryption and therefore least secure (i. To enable MAC address ltering. unfortunately. Change your Network’s SSID name The SSID (or Wireless Network Name) of your Wireless Router is usually pre-de ned as “default” or is set as the brand name of the router (e. you need to add the new settings to your computers and other wireless devices so that they all can connect to the Wi-Fi network.e. You can nd the existing rmware version of your router using from the router’s dashboard at 192.Step 1.11g (instead of 802.. you need to know how to access your wireless router’s settings. This will usually let you select which security method you wish to choose. numbers. This setting is usually under the basic wireless settings in your router’s settings page. which will show your MAC address beside the name “Physical Address”. For an added layer of protection. Reduce the Range of the Wireless Signal If your wireless router has a high range but you are staying in a small studio apartment. WPA (WPA-Personal). you will always be sure that you are connecting to the correct Wireless network even if there are multiple wireless networks in your area. It is.. make sure to set this to something that would be di cult for others to guess.168. the rst thing you should do to secure your network is to change the default password* of the router to something more secure. Step 6. Step 5. rst make a list of all your hardware devices that you want to connect to your wireless network**.1. including WEP. Enter a passphrase to access the network. Connect to your Secure Wireless Network To conclude. Create a unique password on your router Once you have logged into your router. You can nd the MAC addresses of Wireless mobile phones and other portable devices under their network settings. You save on electricity and the door remains 100% shut for wireless piggybackers. Although this will not make your network inherently* more secure. you need to encrypt your wireless signals. MAC Address ltering with WPA2 (AES) encryption (and a really complex passphrase) is probably the best way to secure your wireless network. This will prevent others from accessing the router and you can easily maintain the security settings that you want. Step 4. The default values are generally admin / password. This is di erent for each router. and then add them to the MAC address ltering in your router’s administrative settings. Step 2. home address or other personal information in the SSID name.*. **If you ever want to let a new device connect to your network. If you simple want to let a friend connect to your wireless network one time. so rst check your router’s user manual. you can add the MAC addresses of all your devices to your wireless router’s settings so that only the speci ed devices can connect to your Wi-Fi network. passphrase and other information every time you connect to the Internet. You can also try placing the router under the bed. You can nd the MAC address for your computers by opening Command Prompt and typing in “ipcon g /all”. *It is also a good idea to turn o the router completely when you are not planning to use the computer for a longer period (like when you are out shopping). Find their MAC addresses.11n or 802. so you won’t have to enter the SSID. you can consider decreasing the signal range by either changing the mode of your router to 802.11b) or use a di erent wireless channel. Once this is set. open the wireless security settings on your router’s con guration page. There are several encryption methods for wireless settings. Enable Network Encryption In order to prevent other computers in the area from using your internet connection. but is compatible with a wide range of devices including older hardware. and consider using a combination of letters. You can select to have your computer automatically connect to this network. MAC addresses are hard-coded into your networking equipment. and special characters in the passphrase. Step 3. though this will vary for each device. but an attacker must rst know one of the MAC addresses of the computers that are connected to your Wireless network before he can attempt spoo ng. and WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2). possible to spoof a MAC address*. you can remove his MAC address from the router settings when he or she leaves your place. Step 7. whereas WPA2 is the most secure but is only compatible with hardware manufactured since 2006. Filter MAC addresses Whether you have a laptop or a Wi-Fi enabled mobile phone. if you have older devices. and then enter the correct user name and password for the router. choose WEP. Once you have enabled the various security settings in your wireless router. so one address will only let that one device on the network. you will have to nd its MAC address and add it to your router. Upgrade your Router’s rmware You should check the manufacturer’s site occasionally to make sure that your router is running the latest rmware. You can change the password from the Administration settings on your router’s settings page.g.

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