Wireless Computer Security

Wireless computer security is an important part of your wireless network

Without even getting into wired Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) there are certain things you can do to make your network secure and shut down the easy avenue for the hacker attacks.

Wireless Computer SecurityAn acronym for Wired Equivalent Privacy

WEP is an encryption scheme used to protect your wireless data communications.

WEP uses a combination of 40-bit keys to provide access control to your network and encryption security for every data transmission. To decode a data transmission, each wireless client on the network must use an identical 64 or 128-bit key.

All devices on your wireless home network must use the same settings as your Wireless Router. WEP encryption is NOT recommended to secure your wireless home network. Use WPA or WPA2

Securing wireless computer networks

Ever since 2001, the use of wireless networks has exploded both in home and corporate environments. By 2006, more than 80 millions wireless local area network (WLAN) nodes should be in the hands of residential and business users combined.

Securing WLANs has been a concern almost since their inception and while much progress has been made with the introduction of WEP and WPA,WPA2 both have been shown to have their own weaknesses or implementation issues.

There are wireless security steps that network administrators

And home users alike may take to augment the security of their wireless networks, and discussing some of these steps is the purpose of this site.

None of these steps is intended as a replacement to WEP or WPA, but rather as a complement. Many of these steps do not apply to public hotspots, however, as it is generally the intent of the  WiFi spot’s owner or operator to make access, as easy and convenient as possible

Please remember that computer security is a complex issue and it would take volumes just to explain all of the ins and outs, but if you take some precaution to secure your wireless home network, you’ll have a basic understanding of this technology and a excellent start.

All wireless devices must use the same WEP key!

Adapters and access point and other equipment all come with a default password and other settings – You should quickly change these values. Leaving these default values unchanged, just invites trouble, remember this is your private network, but the airwaves are public and the door is open to anyone that’s up to no good.

The most important values to change are the SSID (Network Name)

Make sure this setting is the same for all devices in your wireless network. A few things you can do to make your SSID more secure

  • Make it unique
  • Change it regularly
  • Disable SSID Broadcast

The SSID (Short for service set identifier) also referred to as a network name because essentially it is a name that identifies a wireless network.

Is the unique name shared among all devices in a wireless network. The SSID must be identical for all devices in the wireless network. It is case-sensitive and must not exceed 32 alphanumeric characters, which may be any keyboard character.

It is important to note, however, that using

The manufacturer’s default SSID, makes it easier for hackers or individuals to identify the access point’s manufacturer and look for specific weaknesses that may be used to gain unauthorized access or deny others access.

Make sure this setting is the same for all devices in your wireless network to insure Wireless security, I recommend that you change the default SSID to a unique name of your choice.

Disabling SSID broadcasting can be a useful security feature. It is best to disable the SSID broadcast until you have configured all of your wireless network clients.

Security Conclusion

Just as the safest computer is locked in a keyless safe and not plugged in, the safest wireless network is the one that isn’t turned on.

Next to that, combining several of the steps documented in this site should lead to a very secure network. Using WPA, WPA2 probably provides the best authentication possible at this time, but it may not be practical for a number of reasons.

Many of the measures proposed here are totally insufficient by themselves to secure a wireless network, but combining them together according to the particular environment where the wireless network is deployed may begin to provide a secure access.

If WPA, WPA2 is not available, the wireless network should at a minimum operate in its own subnet with a tightly configured firewall separating it from the wired network and the use of a VPN tunnel should be encouraged.

SSID broadcast and MAC address filtering should respectively be disabled and enabled on the access point, while all clients should be configured with their own static IP address in order to eliminate the need for a DHCP server on the wireless network.

Most of these steps are easily bypassed by a determined hacker

But it is hoped their accumulation will frustrate most would-be attackers in looking for an easier target to compromise, like your home wireless network.

Despite their weaknesses, WEP or WPA with LEAP should still be used if they are available, but their presence should be complemented by other measures such as, again, a tightly configured firewall or a security device from BlueSocket or Vernier Networks.

Irrespective of any other measure used, the location and configuration of all antennas should be carefully calculated to maximize coverage where it is necessary and minimize it where it is not wanted.

If your wireless home computer can contain its wireless signal…

…As much as possible within its physical borders, it makes it less likely that an attacker will be sitting in a car in the parking lot attempting to defeat or bypass whatever security measure you have in place.