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Lifestyle :: Computers :: Computer Tips :: Keep Out the Evil!

Keep Out the Evil!

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More and more houses and offices are turning on the wireless and just saying no to cabled networks!  Why?  Why not is the better question.  Its getting cheap to do and with the way wireless frequency works, its easy!  But there are a few downfalls as well.  Lets talk about these options today.

Oh…before I get into the article, a big shout to my buddy Sherman in Taiwan.  He is Mr. Wireless.  Whether he is on his iTouch, iPod, iPad or blackberry, he is Mr. Wireless.  He knows pass codes and has so much frequency floating around him, he is practically a walking internet platform.  Pretty soon we will see the iSherm.  (Happy Birthday BTW)

So on to the article.

A lot of you might not know this but the truth is, you can easily get a wireless device, slap it on your cable modem and off you go.  Pretty easy right out of the box.  So if you have 4 computers at home and want to connect all of them to the internet, its pretty easy actually.  You grab a cat5 cable (usually supplied with the wireless router), plug it into the back of the modem, throw the power plug in and good to go!  Easy right?  It is.  But here is where it gets sketchy. 

You have to remember to lock it down and secure the connection.  A lot of customers that we have are so proud that they set up the wireless router, but they forget the most important aspect of wireless network connections - LOCK IT DOWN.  Why would you spend a bunch of money in a car and leave the keys in there so someone else can ride it?  Ahhhh… you see?

A couple of weeks ago, there was a criminal case in Hawaii where a dude was surfing on the internet on a neighbors connection, sending his ex girlfriend emails with threatening tones and this and that.  Why did he do it this way and not through his own connection?  To make things easy and simple, every connection with the internet gets assigned an IP number or Internet Protocol number, and its easy to trace back through IP numbers.  What this kid was doing was logging on to an unsecured wireless network connection, surfing the internet to a freebie email account, sending emails, and then logging off and going home.  So it would be pretty hard to trace.  But remember, this is extreme! 

There are a lot of threats to an unsecured wireless.

Sniffing: Sometimes, you can go to a high traffic location (like a condo or apartment) and unleash and it will look for the unsecured wireless connections!

War Driving: Ever noticed that car driving around the block slowly with a laptop turned on?  There are a lot of applications which will locate wireless network and show which are secured and which aren’t. 

There are a bunch more threats like the evil twins or WI-Fishing but the bottom line is, there are people who purposely look for a unsecured network.  Why? They can steal your passwords, (by checking out your keystrokes), redirect your connection and basically do a bunch of nasty things.  So here is how you secure it. 

You have to login to your router.  This is really easy.  Most of the times, you can go and open up your internet browser, like Internet Explorer and type in your router address (which is sometimes and it should take you straight to your router.  Unless you manually set your router’s address to a different static IP address.  If you have a static IP for any reason, you are either good enough to not read this article or have had someone come to your place to do this!  But if you are a regular customer with RR, you should be able to get to your router this way.  Make sure that the current PC already has a remote wireless connection!  Go to your security tab and BAM .. type in your password.

There are seriously other things that you can do to secure your wireless connection. 

  • You might want to limit the broadcasting or your SSID.
  • Enable WPA2 encryption instead of WEP.
  • Take off remote administration. 

But remember, having A password is MUCH better than having nothing. 

The bottom line to this article is simple… hackers and criminals look for opportunity.  If you give them that opportunity, they will take it.  And unless your name is Jessica Biel or something, there isn’t much on your network people would try and get to.  Having a password will simply turn them away and let them look for the next person down the street with an unsecured wireless connection. 

If you have problems with this, give me a call at 949-6888 and one of our technicians can swing right out to you.  Remember my article on how to hire the right technicians?  We ARE the only RR Approved PC computer repairmen here on Oahu. 

Surf well but surf safe! 

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