Wireless eavesdropping on your wireless home computer network
The fact is that anyone could be listening on an inexpensive scanner, or listening to the private conversation, or sensitive information while talking on a cordless phone, or have you or your home under surveillance, without thinking about eavesdropping.
The same problem exists in 802.11 networks most Non-IT (information technology) people rarely consider the possibility of wireless eavesdropping on their data network, but it is EASY to accomplish on an unencrypted network.
Because it’s difficult to control where RF-radio frequency waves end up, one can never be certain where 802.11 packets are heading or who is listening.
If you don’t care about who’s listening on your wireless network, you should. Because they can steal your bandwidth, your good name, and your freedom, take a look at some of the things they can do…
- Read e-mail
- Delete your files
- Store stolen files on your pc
- Steal your cable bandwidth
- Download pornography through your network
- Send spam to millions of user with your return address
- Find you bank account numbers, if you have them on your pc
- If a wardriver puts pornography on your system, YOU OWN IT
- Deliver pornography through your network, family and friends
For your own Safety Protect your wireless computer network
Intruders can do anything while sitting at your computer using your password, that they can do from outside your home or business. ANYTHING. you lock your doors, then put up a firewall, take the next step and invest in the appropriate tools to secure your wireless system
Wireless home directional antennas
Don’t solve the problem. Although they can more tightly direct the RF energy, they can never completely prevent signal leakage –a single metal file cabinet in the wrong location can bounce a signal in many different directions.
The Key To Preventing wireless eavesdropping wireless surveillance is the use of Strong Encryption
Although it’s not possible to control who receives the signals, the data can be rendered unreadable by unauthorized parties.
Types of encryption that are in wide use on wireless networks today, each with some variants…
- WEP – Wired Equivalent Privacy (Don’t Use unless you have too!)
- WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
- WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access, Newer)
- TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol)
- IPsec (Internet Protocol security)
WEP (“Wired Equivalency Privacy”, NOT “Wireless Encryption Protocol” or one of the many other variations) has been around since the very first 802.11 standard. It was designed by the IEEE and makes use of the RC4 encryption algorithm –the same one used in SSL.
This makes WEP small, relatively fast, and easy to implement in hardware on most wireless NICs. Unfortunately, the original design of WEP makes it vulnerable to cracking –given sufficient time and data for analysis, a WEP key can often be discovered.
If all of this wireless security seems to be to much trouble, just make sure to have at least the firewall turned on!
One thing you may have figured out is security takes effort, even the weak installations take effort, so take the time and do it right. You should implement some type of wireless eavesdropping security for your system, we say it over and over again, but is anybody listening.