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Wireless network security question

Apr 5, 2005
  1. I think that I have my network pretty well locked down. I have a wireless router hooked up to my cable modem with MAC filtering enabled and I use 128 bit WEP encryption to keep the over-the-air-data secure. I have turned off my software firewalls on my PC and my MAC due to the great firewall on the router itself. Is it possible for a drive-by hacker to access information on my computers through the individual wireless adaptors that are on each computer? Or would they have to gain access through the router itself (which is what I am thinking)? If they have to go through the router, then I can just leave the software firewalls off, but if they can gain access through the wireless adaptors then I need to turn them on. That's why I'm asking. Thanks in advance for the info.
  2. poertner_1274

    poertner_1274 secroF laicepS topShceT Posts: 4,172

    They will have to go through the router, unless you setup your laptop as an ad-hoc lan. I don't think you have anything to worry about.
  3. StormBringer

    StormBringer TS Rookie Posts: 2,244

    WEP is like putting a lock on a cardboard box, it will keep the passerby from being nosy, but it won't do anything to keep out someone who wants in. MAC filtering is however a very good addition to the WEP, since the WEP lets people know it is secure, then the MAC filter proves it. MAC filtering is very difficult to crack because you'd have to be able to spoof the mac of a card already allowed to connect and not currently connected. It isn't perfect, but its much better than just WEP and much less trouble than using advanced forms of security like LEAP or RADIUS.

    Additionally, if you have filesharing enabled over your network, make certain that the workgroup isn't set to the defaults that Windows came with. These vary with OS and OEMs but usually it is something like HOME or MSHOME or WORKGROUP. Change it to something else. This just makes it that much harder to get into your stuff, since they'd have to be part of the workgroup to access the files. This won't stop someone who wants access, but it will stop the nosy neighbor.

    As far as firewalls, the one probably in your router will give pretty good protection if it is enabled, but Software firewalls usually protect in different ways. The router firewall mainly protects because of the layers, you have one public IP and many private ones behind that, so in theory, the router gets hit, you don't(except for any machine set as DMZ host of course, since it gets everything forwarded to it)
    Software firewalls generally block "known" threats as well as being able to have rules set for allowing or blocking specific applications. Or by blocking everything except what you set in the rules. When both are used and configured correctly, they can compliment each other to protect your computer. However, they can also cause you problems if they aren't configured correctly, usually by blocking access you want while allowing access you don't...

    As far as the firewall blocking attempts to get in your network by wireless access, its not going to do much there. The firewall software on the computers could help to an extent, the same way they cause trouble when trying to set up filesharing, but otherwise, useless against this type of access. The encryption and MAC filtering is all that is going to block them from accessing your network in general.
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