Security Practicum: Essential Home Wireless Security Practices

    Date06 Nov 2002
    3333
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    802.11b networks are proliferating like mad. Even though faster wireless networks are now available, 802.11b offers users what they want at a reasonably low price. While the high throughput of other technologies is attractive to large Local Area Networks (LANs) and . . . 802.11b networks are proliferating like mad. Even though faster wireless networks are now available, 802.11b offers users what they want at a reasonably low price. While the high throughput of other technologies is attractive to large Local Area Networks (LANs) and people wanting to use wireless for high-end home entertainment purposes, 802.11b's 11Mbit/sec is more than enough to hook up a handful of clients in your home to the Wide Area Network (WAN), which in most cases is simply the Internet.

    However, as we have seen in War Flying San Diego and War Flying Silicon Valley, many users are not taking adequate steps to secure their 802.11b networks. This guide is going to give a practical overview of the methods you can use to lock down your network as tightly as possible without purchasing additional software or setting up Virtual Private Network (VPN) support. If you want a broader overview of 802.11x technology and its security issues, check out our Wireless Security Blackpaper. It's a great article that covers the hows and whys of wireless security issues, and anyone in IT should read that paper before implementing a wireless solution. This article, however, will be focused on the home/small network.

    Before we get started, verify that your wireless LAN is in fact working, and then check to make sure that you're running the latest firmware. Many of the earliest 802.11b routers came with lax security features and extremely weak security key options, but a simple update will probably provide you with the options you need to begin to secure your wireless LAN. And we should note, as well, that keeping up with firmware is always a good idea, because security bugs tend to pop up from time to time, anyway.

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