Wireless Internet - Security on my Laptop?

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I just bought a notebook adapter card and a wireless router for my PC.
Works great!  I also installed Norton Internet Security....that seems
to work great, too.

My only concern is, do I need further protection for my PC to prevent
neighbors or other people nearby getting my wireless router signal and
somehow tapping into my PC.

What can I do to better secure my PC from hackers?

Also, is it okay to leave my wireless router plugged in all night, or
should it be powered down each day?  Is this a security risk of any


Re: Wireless Internet - Security on my Laptop?

pokee@shaw.ca wrote:
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Look up in your documentation how to enable WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
encryption on both your router and card.  Then DO IT! If both are new
they'll almost certainly support this, unless you bought clearance-bin
stuff from a few years back, in which case you should enable whatever
flavor of WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy-what an oxymoron!) your gear
supports.  WEP is easily hackable by intruders who know what they're
doing, but it's better than nothing.

If you've got wireless laptop-wielding neighbors about, setting up your
encryption should have been the first thing you did once everything was
out of the boxes.

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Not once you've got it secured.  Routers are designed to go 24/7; that's
why they don't have on/off switches in most cases.

Now off with you to get that encryption up and running.  Seriously,
don't put it off.  If you really can't get to it right away, don't power
the router up again until you can.  Your neighbors may not have evil
designs, but why take a chance?--JLP

Re: Wireless Internet - Security on my Laptop?

Thanks for the advice!  I called Lynksys to help them guide me through
enabling my WEP on my router and to change some settings to better
secure my PC.  Funny, too, because now I see someone else's routher on
my site survey, and their's encryption is not enabled!

Thanks again!

Jonathan L. Parker wrote:
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Re: Wireless Internet - Security on my Laptop?

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Change default password on router - so others can't get in
Disable remote administration (WAN side) on router - who needs to access
your router setup from the internet?
Change default SSID on router - so less people know which router you are
Turn of SSID broadcasting - so even fewer people know it exists
Enable MAC address filtering - so only systems matching your MAC address can
Enable encryption, whether WEP or WPA.

I dont' think WEP is as easily cracked as people make it sound
(http://www.informit.com/articles/article.asp?p=27666 ). WPA is better,
though not invincible
(http://www.informit.com/articles/article.asp?p=369221&rl=1 ). If you must
use WEP, change your keys whenever it occurs to you.

I don't believe anyone can connect directly to your PC via wifi without you
turning on connection sharing or initiating an adhoc connection. They can
potentially connect to your PC via your LAN which means wirelessly to your
router, then via the router to your PC. This is why you make the security
changes above.

Does linksys have any patches to update your router to WPA?

I was really disappointed in Linksys recently when buying office equipment.
They rely on WinXP to manage WPA, which means that if you don't have XP, you
cannot connect with one of their WPA compliant adapters through WPA to a
Linksys WPA compliant router. So we had to go with Netgear for an adapter on
our Win2K system, because Netgear provides their own WPA client.

Re: Wireless Internet - Security on my Laptop?

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This is all very good advice but nobody mentioned here that turning the
encryption on will considerably slow down your connection speed. So unless
you do top secret stuff, the other things above will provide more than
enough security for you without compromising performace.

Re: Wireless Internet - Security on my Laptop?

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True, but ...

I get about 5Mb download on my broadband cable connection, my Netgear router
is 54Mb. Since my interenet connection bottlenecks at less than ~10% of my
wireless, I can't say I have noticed any considerable loss of speed.

Maybe if all of your networking is over a 100Mb lan, you might notice a
difference (but then a 54Mb wireless would be running at only ~54% of that
anyway), but even 802.11b (11Mb)  is faster than most broadband connections.

(Of course all of these transfer rates do not take into account a lot of the
other processes, etc. involved that also cut down on actual speed, but I
think the point is made.)

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