Skip to comments.The unvarnished truth about unsecured Wi-Fi
Posted on 11/01/2010 9:50:50 PM PDT by Wooly
Chances are you don't leave your front door unlocked. And you shouldn't leave your Wi-Fi network unsecured either.
Many of you may have heard this before, but many still seem to not be doing anything about it. You should. Here's why. With a $50 wireless antenna and the right software a criminal hacker located outside your building as far as a mile away can capture passwords, e-mail messages, and any other data being transmitted over your network, and even decrypt data that is supposedly protected.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.cnet.com ...
I get better internet reception in my backyard from somebodies unsecured connection than i do my own.
Played much music and FR off of it last summer.
Google has admitted capturing unsecured wi-fi info as part of its Street View project.
They say they have no plans to use that data but if so, why capture it in the first place ?
Put encryption on your network with a secure password. And remove the advertising of your wi-fi name. If people want on, they would need the name as well as the password. If your wi-fi name doesn't show then people won't try to get in.
As an information security professional, I have to second this. I have heard, from numerous sources, the following description of wireless internet: wireless internet is the equivalent of carpeting a one-mile-radius area around your house with live ethernet jacks connected directly to your network. As noted above, with the right antenna, any 10-year-old kid can own your network within 2 minutes if you’re using WEP encryption, or less time if you don’t encrypt your network (and you’d better believe that there are a lot of bored 10-year-olds out there who will do exactly that).
To be secure, use WPA or WPA2 encryption, preferably with AES rather than TKIP. Use a non-dictionary password. The best ones have numbers and symbols included. This is to prevent the use of “rainbow tables”, which are basically huge files of passwords used to brute-force attack the newer encryptions. An example would be to use the first letters of all the words in a long phrase, with numbers mixed in in place of some words, thus: I Watched Lord Of The Rings 2 Times Last Night!, which produces IWLORT2TLN!
Make sure you change that phrase a couple of times a year at least.
Hiding the SSID (the network name) is not a valid security measure any more. These days, the programs “hackers” use to search wireless will detect the SSID from any network activity, since it is broadcast in the clear anytime a device communicates across the network. Actually, those programs have been capable of detecting a non-broadcast SSID for at least 5 years now.
“I Watched Lord Of The Rings 2 Times Last Night!, which produces IWLORT2TLN!”
THAT is a great idea/way of remembering an arcane password. Thank you!
While I don't disagree with the sense of your comment, let me add this: If you're using WPA2 encryption, and have a strong passphrase on it, you aren't really risking anything by broadcasting your WiFi SSID (name). And your legit guests with notebooks will appreciate being able to find it easily.
Sorta like, your house has a street number on it. Is that a risk? The lock on the door is what keeps the bad guys out -- covering up the street number only makes it harder for your legit guests to find your house.
That said, if you don't have guests who need WiFi, hiding the SSID certainly doesn't do any harm.
Actually< "I Watched Lord Of The Rings 2 Times Last Night!" produces "IWLOTR2TLN!", not "IWLORT2TLN!".
Computers can be SO picky, ya know... :)
FWIW, I use a similar scheme with a line of lyrics from favorite songs... works like a champ.
Guess I'm paranoid. I shut down my wi-fi when I'm not actively using it. I guess that's like hiding the door with a false wall.
A $50 wireless antenna?
Those are some wealthy hackers.
All you need is a $5 chinese wok, a $10 wifi card, a few flatwashers and a drinking straw.
Network passwords can be written down, and need not be remembered. You don’t need to worry about someone seeing it.
It is for that reason that I generate network passwords with my eyes closed. Pounding on the computer keyboard tends to generate nice long somewhat random blends of letters, numbers and symbols.
I also have the same SSID and password in use at my son’s apt at school. He also has one of those super long-range antennas that allows him to access the on-campus network from a couple blocks away. The on-campus network has access to online subscription-only research databases and he can get to them from home. The long-range link runs slower, but it does work.
Lock up your WIFI. Lest your liberal neighbors find out you’re a Freeper.
LOL. I live way out in the boonies, can't see a neighbor in any direction, have a 2000' rough gravel driveway up the side of a hill... and while I do have a copper telephone line for DSL, I am off the power grid, and all my electricity comes from the sun via photovoltaic panels.
So... my personal WiFi, like yours, gets shut down when I'm not using it, but that's to save electricity. :)
I don't bother with any security on that WiFi, because the only people who come anywhere near close enough to use it are my family and friends. No one else is crazy enough to come up that driveway. And it's only on when I'm here, and I can see who's within 1000 feet of the house.
But my downtown and business WiFi -- strictly WPA2, and 12-character strong passphrases.
Could somebody please tell me how I would find out if I am locked up? or encrypted? I am on Comcast with Norton Utilities, does that cover me. Be kind, I am a senior.
I’m almost a senior. But a true idiot when it comes to this kind of stuff so bookmarking!
We have a friend who got better reception off of her neighbors’ unsecured WiFi than she did off of the wireless router her provider supplied. I’ve also “borrowed” my neighbors’ unsecured WiFi in a pinch when my provider goes down.
Look at the post directly above yours. Do you see the one that says unsecured wireless networks?
To get to that screen, look under your START menu for “Connect to”. Open the “Wireless network connection”. At the bottom of that box, there is a “view wireless network” button. Click on it, and it will take you to the screen you see for the post above you. Look at your network. Does it say Secured, or Unsecured?
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