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Author Topic: Public Service Announcement: Please secure your wireless router  (Read 4091 times) Average Rating: 0
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Anastasios
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« on: December 07, 2009, 06:26:59 PM »

Dear Community,

Yesterday, a member of our forum was visited by police after they received reports from an Internet Service Provider that our member was allegedly posting suicidal posts online on forums. At first, this poster contacted me worried that OCnet had been compromised. Thankfully, it was not.  What ended up being the case was that this poster did not secure his/her wireless router, meaning that anyone in the neighborhood could steal borrow the service.  When a neighbor who was suffering posted some desperate emails (thankfully, this person is not actually suicidal), his computer was connected to our member's router, and so when that forum wisely turned over the IP address to the police, they visited our member to check up on him/her.

I just wanted to issue a public service announcement to notify you to make sure you have secured your wireless connection if you have not already. Please do not put this off if you are one of those who have not done it yet. You never know what your neighbors might be using your connection for.

In Christ,

Fr Anastasios
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 06:33:34 PM »

I'm glad the police acted on this anyway.
Someone near me has an unsecure network which I can detect, and I have yet to work out who it is.
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2009, 07:00:51 PM »

Yes, please do this.  Any security is better than none, but ideally, use WPA2.  WEP has been compromised for quite some time now, and even WPA isn't that great.  But even the weak WEP will keep the casual sniffer from using your Wi-fi.
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 07:24:45 PM »

Please know that if your wireless connection is unsecured, and someone stealsborrows your internet from it and conducts illegal business or activities, then you can be liable, and even if not responsible can be subjected to some serious inconveniences.
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« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2009, 07:27:12 PM »

Yes, please do this.  Any security is better than none, but ideally, use WPA2.  WEP has been compromised for quite some time now, and even WPA isn't that great.  But even the weak WEP will keep the casual sniffer from using your Wi-fi.

Back when I was into this stuff, I could hack into a WEP account that was being used in about 20-30 mins. WAP could take several hours (I know, many out there are better and faster than me, but that gives you a pretty good idea of relative security).
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2009, 07:36:42 PM »

Yes, please do this.  Any security is better than none, but ideally, use WPA2.  WEP has been compromised for quite some time now, and even WPA isn't that great.  But even the weak WEP will keep the casual sniffer from using your Wi-fi.

Back when I was into this stuff, I could hack into a WEP account that was being used in about 20-30 mins. WAP could take several hours (I know, many out there are better and faster than me, but that gives you a pretty good idea of relative security).

WEP can take under 5 minutes now on a rather basic linux laptop, and WPA in under 20 minutes since security and probing tools are getting better and better.  Tongue  Just look at youtube videos and you can see how weak WEP is considered these days, eh?
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« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2009, 07:39:15 PM »

Yes, please do this.  Any security is better than none, but ideally, use WPA2.  WEP has been compromised for quite some time now, and even WPA isn't that great.  But even the weak WEP will keep the casual sniffer from using your Wi-fi.

Back when I was into this stuff, I could hack into a WEP account that was being used in about 20-30 mins. WAP could take several hours (I know, many out there are better and faster than me, but that gives you a pretty good idea of relative security).

WEP can take under 5 minutes now on a rather basic linux laptop, and WPA in under 20 minutes since security and probing tools are getting better and better.  Tongue  Just look at youtube videos and you can see how weak WEP is considered these days, eh?

That'd be nice, it took longer than that to just manually parse the incoming data.
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« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2009, 07:51:19 PM »

For the non-technical people, ignore Nebelpfade and GiC's side conversation. The point is, putting some form of encryption on is better than none, and will stop the average neighbor.  Do your research and try to find the best possible encryption available though to stop hackers and other deliberate attackers.
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« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2009, 07:52:36 PM »

GiC and Nebelpfade: while I am a network engineer, I do not do wireless. Would either of you know what benefit--if there even is one--is there to hiding the SSID? Such that one's network does not show up during an auto scan?
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« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2009, 07:58:00 PM »

GiC and Nebelpfade: while I am a network engineer, I do not do wireless. Would either of you know what benefit--if there even is one--is there to hiding the SSID? Such that one's network does not show up during an auto scan?

I wouldn't bother disabling SSID.  A) Your network can still be easily sniffed out whether the beacon is on or off, B) No real security added, and C) Sometimes it can cause some connection latency.
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« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2009, 08:35:29 PM »

GiC and Nebelpfade: while I am a network engineer, I do not do wireless. Would either of you know what benefit--if there even is one--is there to hiding the SSID? Such that one's network does not show up during an auto scan?

I wouldn't bother disabling SSID.  A) Your network can still be easily sniffed out whether the beacon is on or off, B) No real security added, and C) Sometimes it can cause some connection latency.

Agreed, the people it'd keep out probably couldn't crack the WEP anyway.
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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2009, 08:59:06 PM »

The biggest message here is that there is no "hacker proof" way to secure a wireless network.  While the standards are few (802.11n is popular right now), the manufacturers are many as well as the permutations.

I wonder if there is a simple tutorial for securing a wireless network.  I tried to find one and I couldn't....
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« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2009, 09:27:11 PM »

Please know that if your wireless connection is unsecured, and someone stealsborrows your internet from it and conducts illegal business or activities, then you can be liable, and even if not responsible can be subjected to some serious inconveniences.
We do use WEP encryption. If someone hacks my secure connection, and uses it for illegal activities, can I be still be held liable, or does my encryption absolve me from responsibility for the actions of hackers?
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« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2009, 09:33:46 PM »

Even if you are using unsecured wireless, you still can get out of trouble by showing that the computer used for the commission of the crime is not one you own; the problem is it could be difficult to demonstrate this for various reasons and hence it could cause a lot of headache even if you ultimately are cleared.  By using encryption, you are not absolving yourself but rather reducing the chance that someone will break through and use your wireless for illegal purposes and thus catch the police's attention. You are not legally more responsible if you don't have encryption--using someone else's wireless is technically a crime anyway--but we are just talking about taking precautions so you don't get fingered with the blame and have to prove you are innocent.
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« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2009, 09:36:08 PM »

Hmm. That's troubling, since my profession is one in which the accusation of wrongdoing can actually be as harmful as actual wrongdoing.
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« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2009, 09:36:32 PM »

We're encrypted, but from this thread, I think I'll check making things more secure.

As a side note, my Tracfone was apparently "cloned" when I had it on very briefly on a Metro train last week, and the 20 or so minutes I had on it were used in less then twenty minutes on Friday night.  I was able to track one number to a name and the other two to NY and OK, but then had a long conversation with the TracFone answerline and I'm going to get more info from their tech people.   I found out about how this could be done with a very quick search on-line.   grrrrr
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« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2009, 09:45:15 PM »



 Huh

Ummmm....feeling properly chastised.

Mine, is not secure....and I left it that way on purpose.  Never did any of the above possiblities even enter my mind.

I am surrounded by the most part by elderly neighbors...and thought I might be doing them a favor by leaving open for them to utilize.

Hmmm....but, they aren't all old and sweet.   No good deed goes unpunished.

I better get to work!

Thanks for the heads up!  (...as I post via my wireless connection!)


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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2009, 03:43:38 AM »



 Huh

Ummmm....feeling properly chastised.

Mine, is not secure....and I left it that way on purpose.  Never did any of the above possiblities even enter my mind.

I am surrounded by the most part by elderly neighbors...and thought I might be doing them a favor by leaving open for them to utilize.

Hmmm....but, they aren't all old and sweet.   No good deed goes unpunished.

I better get to work!

Thanks for the heads up!  (...as I post via my wireless connection!)

That was my rational too, until someone hacked into our computer and deleted everything.  All memorabilia that we collected during that time were gone.  You can imagine the anger in the air.  No more being nice to others.

What about MAC address filters?  I use those.  Is that reliable or do I still need to use WPA2?
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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2009, 01:08:09 PM »

What about MAC address filters?  I use those.  Is that reliable or do I still need to use WPA2?

MAC address filters are more or less useless.  You can spoof MAC addresses easily.  WPA2 is still your best bet.
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2009, 03:55:16 PM »

In my mind, the only reason not to use the strongest encryption possible (usually WPA2 on any modern device) is if there is a device that needs network access and doesn't support WPA2. I believe the Sony PSP is one such device.
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« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2009, 04:38:23 PM »

Remember to change the default passwords...
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« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2009, 08:17:11 PM »

Remember to change the default passwords...

I always surprised (though I really shouldn't be) by the number of people who don't.  Whenever you see a SSID named "default", you are usually seconds away from full control over their wireless router.
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« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2009, 08:31:00 PM »

Remember to change the default passwords...

I always surprised (though I really shouldn't be) by the number of people who don't.  Whenever you see a SSID named "default", you are usually seconds away from full control over their wireless router.

I cringe whenever my laptop detects networks named "linksys" or "linksys" with a large number after it... It's a big "hack me" sign that I'm sure people take advantage of.
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« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2009, 08:33:24 PM »

I cringe whenever my laptop detects networks named "linksys" or "linksys" with a large number after it... It's a big "hack me" sign that I'm sure people take advantage of.

I remember when I first booted up my laptop years ago, I was just fiddling around with it and noticed Windows Update was running.  It had connected to my neighbour's insecure wireless automatically and started updating itself.
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« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2009, 12:58:08 AM »

What about MAC address filters?  I use those.  Is that reliable or do I still need to use WPA2?

MAC address filters are more or less useless.  You can spoof MAC addresses easily.  WPA2 is still your best bet.

Really?  I'd like to know how, considering that I'm not even allowing people to even know I'm there.  The concept to me seems as if someone can hack into a network based solely on wired ethernet cables.
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« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2009, 02:04:09 AM »

Really?  I'd like to know how, considering that I'm not even allowing people to even know I'm there.  The concept to me seems as if someone can hack into a network based solely on wired ethernet cables.
The main problem is that the WEP and WPA protection has been circumvented.  With the proper card (not all wireless cards are built to monitor/audit networks), they can sniff out packets and data frames from the air and decrypt them.  If they are able to obtain your IP from the header, they will use the standard address resolution protocol to pool the routing table and ask for your MAC address.  Once they have your MAC address, simply using the ifconfig command in Linux allows you to override your MAC address.  Then, as far as the routing is concerned, they are you.  With distributions like BackTrack, coupled with software like Nessus, people have all the tools at hand.  So much of it is automated.
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« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2009, 03:10:48 AM »

Really?  I'd like to know how, considering that I'm not even allowing people to even know I'm there.  The concept to me seems as if someone can hack into a network based solely on wired ethernet cables.
The main problem is that the WEP and WPA protection has been circumvented.  With the proper card (not all wireless cards are built to monitor/audit networks), they can sniff out packets and data frames from the air and decrypt them.  If they are able to obtain your IP from the header, they will use the standard address resolution protocol to pool the routing table and ask for your MAC address.  Once they have your MAC address, simply using the ifconfig command in Linux allows you to override your MAC address.  Then, as far as the routing is concerned, they are you.  With distributions like BackTrack, coupled with software like Nessus, people have all the tools at hand.  So much of it is automated.

Incredible!  A MAC HACK!  Okay, I'm sold.

I feel like there should be a MAC address protecting software now that I see this.  What a battle that would spark.
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« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2009, 03:30:07 AM »

Incredible!  A MAC HACK!  Okay, I'm sold.

I feel like there should be a MAC address protecting software now that I see this.  What a battle that would spark.

There are some, but it would depend on you running your own box router, rather than your typical embedded one.  The problem is that the vulnerabilities it uses, whether it is ARP or DHCP, are intrinsic to your network functioning.  So you can look out for anomalies, but won't completely eliminate the threat.  The only way to be really safe (but never 100%, since there is no such thing) would be to use the latest security protocol (WPA2) and set up a VPN.
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« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2009, 04:26:29 AM »

Recommended security settings:

- WPA2 with PSK (PSK2-Personal or WPA2-Personal in the switch settings)
- If available, configure aditional parameters:
++Encryption - Select the algorithm you want to use, AES or TKIP. (AES is a stronger encryption method than TKIP.) AES represents WPA2 and TKIP represents WPA
++Pre-shared Key - Enter the key shared by the router and your other network devices. It must have 8 to 63 characters.
++Key Renewal - Enter the key renewal period, which tells the router how often it should change encryption keys.
- Disable SSID broadcasts (Hidden SSID) (just for added security)
- MAC filter (just for added security)
- change the default SSID and passwords
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« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2009, 07:17:48 AM »

While I have not (yet) updated my wifi security to the maxium suggested above, I will note that it really isn't that difficult. Whatever your manufacturer, go the site, find the support page for your particular model, printed out the part about security and follow the instructions. It's really that simple.
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« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2009, 12:03:49 PM »

While I have not (yet) updated my wifi security to the maxium suggested above, I will note that it really isn't that difficult. Whatever your manufacturer, go the site, find the support page for your particular model, printed out the part about security and follow the instructions. It's really that simple.
Yup.  And if it is an older router, try updating the firmware first.  This might allow for WPA2 afterwards.
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« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2009, 11:04:38 PM »

From the village tech idiot (me):

During holidays, protect your new router from your college-aged kids.  They will  switching it for the old router (so they can play their old xbox that doesn’t like newer encryption). They are likely to forget to switch you back to the newer router when they go back to college.

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