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Change network name (SSID) to not appear on site monitor

by Big Steve / July 6, 2007 5:26 PM PDT

Last year my brother had installed in my house 2 new Dell computers; a desktop and a notebook. My internet connection was changed from dial-up to DSL. He sent his IT guy to install everything and to set up a home network. I'm able to use the notebook wirelessly throughout the house.

I received an email from CNET last night about wireless network set up; interesting reading since I had nothing to do with setting my network up in the house. When I open up my wireless utility and click on site monitor the IT guy has my router labeled using my last name which I guess everyone in my neighbothood who has wireless can see.

Can I change my SSID name from my last name to something else without having to mess with all the other set up that was done last year by that IT guy or since I know nothing about the subject should I just leave things alone? Out by encryption type is "WEP" which I think it should be to offer me protection from others tapping into my signal.

When I open up my site monitor 7 routers appear; all including mine have gold padlocks out to the side; mine is the only one labeled with someone's last name; my last name while all the others have router brand names listed; no other recognizable last names.

If I can read my last name next to my router can others in my neighborhood see it on their wireless site monitors and if they can should I change my SSID address from my last name to something else and if I should how hard is it to do? These other 6 routers I'm seeing on my wireless utility's site monitor; how far away are these other 6 routers? Would they be located on my street; a block or 2 away? What kind of range are we talking about? Just curious.


Big Steve
07/07/07

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I know little about wireless
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / July 6, 2007 8:13 PM PDT
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Re: I know little about wireless
by Big Steve / July 7, 2007 4:02 AM PDT

I read that post; most of which I didn't know what the poster was talking about; seemed that he had some security issues with his wireless earlier this year and since he seems to know a lot more about the subject than I do which isn't much I think I better leave things alone and not try changing anything.

Besides someone being able to hack into your network to surf on your signal for free what other issues do you need to be concerned about? Stealing your identity? Stealing your credit card information while you're using it on your wireless network? Is surfing the Internet safe anymore? The times they are a changing aren't they.


Big Steve
07/07/07

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In a nutshell.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 7, 2007 4:37 AM PDT

1. There is no added security by disabling SSID broadcast today.

2. There are too many machines and devices that "drop connection" when you disable SSID broadcast.

Between these 2 items I will not disable this today. I will do so upon request but forewarn any one that if they have to call me back to flip it back on that they will be charged for the service.

-> About security. This one is easy. Get your WIFI to WPA and you'll be fine.

---> In closing. This is not just me writing about one lone incident but a rash of them in our area and from another tech I compare notes with. Those that have stayed on WEP or lesser security are good news for the rest of us. Let them be easy pickings for the wolves.

Bob

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Re: In a nutshell.
by Big Steve / July 7, 2007 5:07 AM PDT
In reply to: In a nutshell.

I take it that I should just leave everything alone since I know very little about it which I will do. My encryption says "WEP" and you say I should have that changed to "WPA" at some point in the future?

Will that require purchasing a different kind of wireless router or can I continue to use the Linksys(sp?) router which my brother's IT guy bought at Wal-Mart last year when he came from Texas with 2 new Dell computers to set everything up?

When my router's ID is broadcast along with 6 others; how close or how far can those other routers be from me? Located on my street? Located on the next street? If I can see them can they see me; my router labeled with my last name? What kind of range are we talking about here?

If I had known that my router was going to be labeled using my last name I would have told that IT guy to label my router something else like "rootbeer" or anything else but my last name. I live on a short street; 14 houses total; 7 on each side of the street; I have lived in my neighborhood for 44 years.

If someone at the end of my street is seeing these routers like I am they can certainly ID me because that IT guy has my router labeled with my last name; real smart for obscurity. Thanks for your post.


Big Steve
07/07/07

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The reports are in.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 7, 2007 6:33 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: In a nutshell.

About SSID broadcasts. Remember this line?

"The goggles do nothing!" is said by Rainier Wolfcastle when he is swept away by a torrent of sulphuric acid.

I'm going to write it again. There is no security gain here. The wifi hack tools I was bringing up for discussion do not use this to find your network.

Next time, change your SSID to something inviting like VIRUS, TROJANHAUS, BLACKDEATH.

Bob

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Re: The reports are in.
by Big Steve / July 7, 2007 6:45 AM PDT
In reply to: The reports are in.

As I stated previously I had nothing to do with setting my wireless network up; that IT guy working for my brother from Texas did. You didn't answer one of my other questions; to move from WEP encryption to that other more secure form of encryption would I need to purchase a different kind of router?


Big Steve
07/07/07

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Moving to WPA is answered.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 7, 2007 7:17 AM PDT

I covered that by declaring WEP IS DEAD in many replies. I can't know if you need new hardware but if your routers are capable of 802.11g then they most likely can do WPA. Which neatly solves many issues.

Sorry if all this is full of geek speak.

Bob

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Re: Moving to WPA is answered.
by Big Steve / July 7, 2007 7:51 AM PDT

My router is a Linksys WRT54G Wireless-G broadband router and your language is geekeeze; most of what you said I have no clue as to what you said but wireless is still new to me. How about all of those other routers showing up on my wireless utility; could they be located near by or several blocks away?

Can others see my router on their wireless utilities labeled with my last name? Is there an easy way to change the label on my router from my last name to something else or would everything else need to be reconfigured? For example can I simply click on it and rename it? Answer if you would in layman's terms, no geekeeze pleeeze.


Big Steve
07/07/07

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Steve, Read And Understand..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 7, 2007 9:48 AM PDT

All the posts here are giving you information for which you can check on. Your router has a manual which should provide all the information you are asking.. And unfortunately, when you start using wireless technology, a little "geekeeze" is necessary. But to answer a few of your questions:

1. YES, neighborhood users could see your SSID name if the SSID broadcast is enabled. (Generally, within 100 meters or so). Still, as Bob has stated clearly, as long as you use a secure passphrase/password with WPA or WPA2, (NOT WEP), and utilize a few other steps, you should be OK. Disabling SSID will indeed hide your network name but unfortunately, it tends to cause problems with reliable internet usage. (Many computers have problems staying connected when it's disabled.)

2. YES, there is an easy way to change the name on your SSID network name, as well as create a WPA password. The manual will tell you how.. Unfortunately, once you change the name of the SSID, you'll need to reconfigure each of the computers so they now find and connect to the new network name.

Below is a link which should help you find the "User Guide" for you router:

WRT54G Downloads

Hope this helps.

Grif

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Re: Steve, Read And Understand..
by Big Steve / July 7, 2007 10:18 AM PDT

Well unfortunately for me that moron of an IT guy who works for my brother took all the manuals; CD's, boxes, etc. back to Texas with him last year once he set everything up. That being the case I'll leave things as they are. Knowing him he probably wasn't aware of the safer encryption; the WPA otherwise I'd like to know why he went with the less secure WEP instead. If going with WEP was cheaper that's probably the reason.


Big Steve
07/07/07

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NOpe, Not Cheaper..PLUS..
by Grif Thomas Forum moderator / July 7, 2007 3:38 PM PDT

..you can still download the manual at the link I provided.. Help yourself to the information it provides..

Grif

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Re: NOpe, Not Cheaper..PLUS..
by Big Steve / July 7, 2007 4:39 PM PDT

Thanks for the post.


Big Steve
07/07/07

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