Monday, December 8, 2008

Computer: Wanna Secure Your Wireless Router?

When you install or have a wireless network at home, do you secure your network? You should. Folks can pull up within range of your home and use your service without you really knowing about it. I've seen too many cars parked in odd spots in front of homes, with the driver on their laptop. Gee, what could they be doing?

If someone can access your connection, they can also access your computer if it's on. If someone is insidious enough, they can do things you probably don't like. There are too many things to ponder that they can do to your files or computer. Let your imagination run wild.

But there are things you can do to prevent, or at least hamper the hacker who might want to add your computer to their zombie network.

Here are some basics to know:

Change the SSID (the name) of your network and disabling the SSID broadcast. This will protect you from the opportunist who’s in a hurry.

Disable DHCP/Access Control. This will not stop a hacker with even minimal knowledge, as there are many tools which will sniff out available IP addresses on your network, but again, the casual hacker can be stopped.

MAC address filtering again will only hamper the opportunist as a hacker with a little know-how will be able to clone your MAC address--and see everything on your network.

BUT if you really want to put a snare in the process, there's always
WPA: A randomized pre-shared key of at least 10 characters would take half-a-million years to crack. (Note: A random key means that it shouldn’t be a word that exists in any dictionary (hackers have extensive dictionaries that include all common passwords, English words, nicknames, and misspellings of words. This is called a “dictionary attack.”) A random key is a meaningless mix of lower- and uppercase letters and numbers, and sometimes special characters like punctuation, depending on whether your router supports it). If you’re not sure how to get a random key, or have writers block, you can find software that will generate a key for you (type “software generate wpa key” into your favorite search engine).

Keep it smart, play it safe!

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Hi - sorry for the confirmation but I need to weed out the noise from the well intended comments. Thanks for leaving a note... - Bruce