TechSpot

Questions on Hackers

By Ganu
Jan 24, 2009
  1. Can I Avoid Hackers?

    I just installed a new wireless router and I have a few questions about hacker security. From what I have been reading online, it is very easy to hack into a router and take over somebody's computer, picking up credit card info and such. What are the capabilites of a typical hacker and how easy/hard is it to get passed a firewalled system or password secured router? Is simply passwording the router enough to keep away hackers, or are there other countermeasures which must be taken as well? Also, just curious, to what extent can a hacker control your system and would it be possible to identify and hack into a comp that picked up your wirelesss signal, although I don't plan on doing that.
     
  2. raybay

    raybay TS Evangelist Posts: 10,716   +6

    There are advanced security settings that are fairly difficult for the average hacker to get past... Try at least WPA security, and you will generally be as safe as can be.. then change the WPA settings if you live where hackers rest.
     
  3. brucethetech

    brucethetech TS Enthusiast Posts: 301

    the password on the router is a must-have but it will not save you. your encryption is your MAIN line of defense in which case you should use WPA or WPA2. but even wpa can be cracked eventually. any encryption is better than nothing. once a wireless system is compromised most hackers are satisfied and can read MOST data that you transfer over your wireless internet without even bothering or controlling the computer or you having a clue.
     
  4. Ganu

    Ganu TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I have also been reading about MAC filters and IP filters and I'm wondering what those are all about and if they're worth the trouble of setting up.
     
  5. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 18,353

    MAC filters, would be the best option

    They are the unique identification number to your network card (none are the same, ever) Whereas IPs can be modified by others, quite easily
     
  6. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,290   +25

    Apply a MAC filter and do not use DHCP. Instead, manually set the IP on each computer on your network and use a WPA2 key. For maximum protection, change your key every week and use alphanumeric and special characters.
     
  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,469   +327

    depends upon the specific router
    On my netgear, the MAC filter is used to set the ip address when the client performs the DHCP.

    Using the MAC Table then documents the assignments so you never create a conflict.

    For my 'guests', I let DHCP set those addresses above a specific number and
    that allows me to setup special guest rules in the firewall :)
     
  8. Rage_3K_Moiz

    Rage_3K_Moiz Sith Lord Posts: 7,290   +25

    Really? My router allows me to apply a MAC filter, whether or not DHCP is enabled.

    I guess it must differ from router to router, as you said.
     
  9. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,469   +327

    we agree; I just said the MAC table ALSO allows one to define the IP address when the DHCP request arrives :)
     
  10. brucethetech

    brucethetech TS Enthusiast Posts: 301

    these will only stop people from connecting to your router and using your internet connection. they dont stop packet capture and analysis if you were worried credit card info and stuff. though they are better than nothing and are REALLY easy to setup, both can EASILY be circumvented.
     
  11. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,398   +169

    Point of clarification please

    1. There are MAC addresses (as kimsland said, they're unique identification numbers)

    2. And different router config options may require you enter MAC addresses, including
    - MAC filtering (enter the MAC address of each adapter allowed to connect to the router)
    - Static IP assignment (enter the MAC address along with your choice of IP address)

    but (as far as i've ever seen) these two options are configured / maintained independent of each other. Is one of netgear's routers now combining these things??
     
     
  12. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,469   +327

    short answer: YES :)

    Typically Mac filtering creates either a Blacklist (nic's to be blocked) or a Whitelist(systems to be allowed).

    My Netgear RP614 combines the Whitelist with IP address reservations to
    predict (ie set) the ip address of a specific system when the DHCP request is
    seen. Anything other than those so listed take the classic dhcp assignment path.

    If you notice in the attachment, by filling in the slots with dummy addresses,
    the first unknown MAC to access my router config will be assigned an address
    of 192.168.0.11 as 1-10 are reserved.

    I am extremely please with this router as 'Brandon' has a linksys attached at 0.10
    and several devices to it and he is a heavy gamer. The Netgear tolerates his
    usage very well :)
     
  13. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,398   +169

    Ahhh..I think i understand point of confusion......

    What you refer to is "Address Reservation" not really MAC filtering

    MAC filtering is the process of building whitelists or blacklists to restrict router access (for Wireless routers is often called Wireless Access Card setup" see attachment)

    What you refer to is reserving specific IP addresses for MAC address (address reservation) but is not a white- or blacklist (MAC filtering)
     
  14. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,469   +327

    If you need the final authoritative answer, well and good.

    The Netgear router combines BOTH operations of Filtering and Predictive address assignment. It does not however, forbid access for Mac addresses NOT in the list.

    I would consider any formula like
    Code:
    if (condition) then take action
    to be 'filtering' :)

    Clearly we differ here -- peace dear friend :)
     
  15. LookinAround

    LookinAround TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 8,398   +169

    Was just noting the term MAC filtering is already defined so a reference to MAC filtering implies a certain meaning. MAC filtering within the context of Address Reservation can cause conufsion (such as Rage_3K_Moiz's comment "Really?My router allows me to apply a MAC filter, whether or not DHCP is enabled")

    Was simply posting my understanding of the term "MAC filtering"

    But regardless of any differences (or alliances!)... always peace! :)
     
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