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TOTALLY CONFUSED about wi-fi security! Please help!...

by shawnlin / March 11, 2007 3:59 AM PDT

TOTALLY CONFUSED about wi-fi security! Please help!...

What I want to do:
protect (as much as practical) from anyone but me from using my modem/router and thus, my bandwidth at home

What I have:
Linkysis cable modem/router w/wi-fi with WEP encryption
3mth old HP laptop with wi-fi
tower system to become a file server of sorts at a later time, also w/wi-fi network card

Whenver I "view wireless networks" from my laptop, my network comes up and DOESN'T have the lock symbol (fyi, I'm using WinXP pro) and states that I have an unsecured wireless network.

So...How do I get a security enabled wireless network?


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We just covered this at this link.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 11, 2007 4:11 AM PDT
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useful background info...but now...
by shawnlin / March 11, 2007 5:07 AM PDT

now I'm a little more confused. it seems that I'll have to buy new equipment.

the modem/router I have supports 802.11 b/g provided I use a supporting network card.

my laptop supports 802.11 a/b/g
my tower system has a card that supports 802.11 b/g

so...I guess that means I have WEP and WPA encryption. correct? if that's so, now what? I guess I'm looking for a really basic, step-by-step guide.

One thing I'd like is to turn off the wifi ability on my modem/router just as I'm able to turn off the wifi card on my laptop or tower. I'm not sure how that can be done...although I did try to twist off the two antennas on the modem/router but they don't come off.

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(NT) sorry, WAP encryption, not WPA...anyhow...
by shawnlin / March 11, 2007 5:14 AM PDT
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If you remove the antennas you run the risk of..
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 11, 2007 5:22 AM PDT

The radio failing. Someday a maker will have an radio off button, but then again people would be calling tech support for that famous question and answer.

The discussion I noted was to raise awareness that WEP is dead. WPA is nearly dead and WPA2 is left as the sole answer.

Of course simple settings such as mac filters locked out some self proclaimed wifi hacker expert so that's a good enough lock.


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by shawnlin / March 11, 2007 5:27 AM PDT
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Don't break your antennas to disable the broadcast
by linkit / March 11, 2007 7:52 PM PDT

Many routers have the ability to turn off/disable the radio broadcast in their administration pages. Have you checked there? Downloading and reading a little of the router's manual helps if you have trouble finding the broadcast OFF option.

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I forgot to mention A White Hat is a MVP
by kingdomofjones / March 12, 2007 8:56 AM PDT

I have very basic knowledge as it pertains to Modem/Router Security protocols though I'am able to do at least a few things.The Link to the ten minute bust is a bit intimidating however and I wish to emphasis however ten minutes can a lifetime make.Though WEP(Wired Equivalent Privacy)is an optional IEEE 802.11b(aka Wi-Fi,or Wireless Fidelity)feature designed to offer privacy equivalent to that of a wired LAN.According to the standards,WEP uses the RC4 encryption algorithm with a 40-bit key,although a 128-bit key also may be used.The film did indicate that WEP has been proven to easy to break and though WPA was designed to replace it,WPA is solid footing providing your wise enough to ensure a strong password.I would'nt hesitate to increase my routers security settings if indeed WPA(Wi-Fi Protected Access)was available.I'am not very fond of people who brake off antennas,sort of reminds me of a time ago when real street toughs use to do those kind of things and even more so there did not here in this question move into a better informed position.This entire field is demanding and even complex.There are any number of subjects that can really become lucid and extended conversations that if qualified will yield critical data as to the ways of wireless fidelity however I detect a different idea and I'am unsure as to this comment beyond a point of no uncertain truth.I will recommend something for the question as such and that one of the credits to be applied pertains to some of the great websites and great events that these communities provide.For better than 1 1/2years the web site of has been home of the SecurityNow Series of broadcasts in which Steve Gibson of Gibson Research Corporation aka is interviewed about everything from Security and the internet to the Personal Computer.He has a stalwart friend in media consultant Leo Laporte and the two have since August of 2005 talked for times of upwards of nearly 90 minutes but certainly no less than perhaps 30-45 minutes on everything that has been discussed here and then some.There is nothing that you need to do outside of listen and if you wish you can download,even print out the entire discussion.This is sort of a starting point but by the time one security now broadcast is done naive you will be no more.It is intelligent and informative and there are literally many of his broadcasts that all that these questions here provide he has discussed in depth and very carefully.There is even an ability to ask a question through a suggestion box and so on.I would recommend to become a subscriber and make it mandatory to listen to whatever particular broadcast you wish to listen to because they,each and everyone is available to be listened to as if it was August 2005.There is no charge and all that the SecurityNow broadcasts offer is provided NON-GRATIS(no charge)It is to me a real reason why there is a computer in every home because there are real hero's out there in the world of Personal Computing.One of them happens to be Steve Gibson of your there check out your firewall and if there is any cause greater than the Hard Disc Drive on our PC.I would recommend Spinrite6 for Hard Drive Maintenance.

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(NT), thanks for that info!
by shawnlin / March 13, 2007 12:34 AM PDT
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Figured it out! One issue: SSID broadcast and MAC filter...
by shawnlin / March 13, 2007 12:43 AM PDT

I was able to perform my security stuff going through the Linksys Learning Center area off the Linksys webpage.
But I did run into one issue:

First, I:
changed my password
changed my SSID
Turned on WEP encryption with 128bit key

But there was an odd relationship with MAC filtering and stopping the broadcast of my SSID:
I first disabled SSID broadcasting and it then limited my wireless security options on the web-page interface for the modem/router.
At that point, I wasn't able to select MAC filtering.
So I went back to enable SSID broadcasting, then turned on MAC filtering, and then disabled SSID broadcasting.

However, I still see my SSID when I do a wireless network scan - is that because I've identified my laptop MAC address as an allowable device?
I've been told I may need a software/firmware update from my ISP (Comcast/Time Warner). Anyone run into this issue?

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SSID broadcast is old advice.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / March 13, 2007 12:55 AM PDT
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It Does Not Come Easy

I wanted to drop this off as it seems to be somewhat appropiate.The most immediate opinions are that though it may of been concieved of as secure,WEP Encryption has been badly broken with very real stories as the aforementioned link providing proof of a 10 minute heist.It is perhaps just as un-nerving to learn that MAC address filtering is not only not secure but is very easy to lookup up any active machine in the address table almost at will.There is here SN-10 and SN-011 two particular broadcasts which occurred on Oct.20,2005 and then Oct.27,2005.#10 is entitled Open Wireless Access Points and #011 is entitled Bad WiFi Security(WEP and MAC address filtering)the source file: and File Archive: There is also one other troubling area which recommends only this if any other security protocol is available use it.I'am referring to WPA more so than anything else.Though the moderator was careful and the information is quite the affirmative there remains these Security Now broadcasts that are terribly useful and should support any future thinking as to wireless.I would not pass up this opportunity to listen in as these broadcasts are a definitive attempt to pigeon hole the failure that is represented by Wired Equivalent Privacy or WEP.There is more to MAC address filtering which I would sincerely require a listen and learn as to these particular broadcasts.Though I think your cause was a different one it is this cause why we are here.

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