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RE: home wireless router good practices for security
From: "Preston, Tony" <Tony.Preston () acs-inc com>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 08:37:09 -0500

I also have the Linksys, it is a great buy.

To answer some of your questions...  Yes, enabling the encryption will not
only hurt your performance, it is a pain to get right with different
machines (I have a Win ME, 3 Win XP boxes on my network).  It will work with
a bit of work.  I never did any benchmarks, but I think it was PC world
magazine that did and it seemed to have about a 10-20% penalty associated
with it.

You want to use an odd SSID, not the default and disable the broadcast.  I
also changed the channel from the default and while it only uses that in
machine to machine communications (I have game players in the house),
I never like leaving defaults...

You should run a firewall on each machine.  I also suggest that using MAC
filtering is a good thing and would have prevented your neighbor's access.

My son has a laptop with a wireless card and went to his girl friend's
house.  She was not home yet so he sat outside on their porch waiting and
had minor problems attaching to their wireless network (which he setup for
them).  He found that he could easily attach to the neighbor's wireless
network (directly across the street) and use their connection while he
waited.  Most people do not lock their connection down either out of
ignorance or deliberately.

I prefer to lock mine down with what little I can...  I have blocked several
ports at the router (135-139, ect...) which is an option on the
Linksys router.  My son plays online games and has had no problems with the

I *KNOW* the router is not secure so I run AVG, Kerio personal firewall,
Ad-aware, and Spybot S&D on my system and track things to prevent problems.
My worst nightmare has occurred, my daughter is back from school with her
laptop and wireless card and she is dangerous...:) always running things
sent to her in email, downloading stupid programs... I think she is almost
cured of that (she got infected once), but who knows..., but that is one of
the reasons I run a firewall and check its logs.

Tony Preston
Systems Engineer, AS&T Inc.
Division of L3 Corporation
(609) 485-0205 x 181

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve [mailto:securityfocus () delahunty com] 
Sent: Tuesday, December 30, 2003 1:33 PM
To: security-basics () securityfocus com
Subject: home wireless router good practices for security

So I went out and purchased a wireless router (Linksys 802.11b) for home
since it was so inexpensive and actually less cost than the wireless access
points I was trying to get via eBay.  Got it home, installed my wireless
network card (SMC), powered on the router, attached it to a port on my other
wired linksys router, and boom it worked great.  Then about 5 minutes after
I sent an instant message to my neighbor (fellow IT friend) he was on my
network.  So I took the steps that Linksys recommends below, seems good (to
    Change the default SSID
    Disable SSID Broadcasts
    Change the default password for the Administrator account
    Enable WEP 128-bit Encryption
Linksys also recommends these other measures, I have not implemented:
    Enable MAC Address Filtering
    Change the SSID periodically
    Change the WEP encryption keys periodically.

My Questions:

1) Anyone know how much enabling 128-bit encryption will hurt my wireless

2) Does setting the SSID for my wireless NIC then keep me from getting onto
other wireless networks like when traveling?  I ask since that setting was
set to ANY before I changed it to the SSID that I set for my wireless

3) What else should I really do to protect my home network?


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