So, seriously, when are you going to lock up your wireless?

While my travels have shown a greater number of wireless networks are secure, there is still room for improvement.

I read an article recently about a man who had hacked into his neighbor’s wireless and did unspeakable things on that network with the idea that they’d be traced back to the neighbor and not to him.  I had previously blogged about locking up your wireless and how important it is.  This event shows just how much.  My primary reason then and today for locking up your wireless is to keep other people from using your network for purposes you can’t control.  You can read the article to see the kinds of things that can be done, but that’s not the limit.

Peer-to-peer filesharing can also get you in trouble if someone on your network happens to be sharing files for which someone else owns the distribution rights.  It wouldn’t feel right if your internet provider shut off your service because someone else who was using your network shared a popular movie to many others.

What security options are there?  For home users, you have several modes of encryption.  The best of them is WPA2 (WPA stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access).  Next best is WPA (without the ‘2’).  WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) is effectively useless as there are tools which can crack the keys used in a matter of minutes.  Basically WEP is only going to stop the person who is looking for an open wireless network.  It’s not going to stop someone who is intentionally trying to get in.

In my previous blog post, I recommended going with the best encryption that all your equipment can handle.  Now I’m going to recommend that you implement WPA and/or WPA2 and plan a way to upgrade anything which can’t handle it.  Plus, you need to have a sufficiently long and complicated enough wireless passphrase to prevent someone from attempting to guess or use some form of brute-force attack (a method where multiple keys are attempted in some logical manner).  It’s even been recommended to not use a common name for your wireless network (SSID) as that is used in combination with the passphrase in the generation of the actual key the equipment uses.

So, please, lock it up!

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