Risk
7/13/2008
07:18 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
50%
50%

Securing Your Wireless Internet Connection (You Know You Should)

Well, it's not really breaking news, security firm Kaspersky Lab is pointing out the obvious: that most home and small business wireless networks run at a low, or no, level of security. Kaspersky Lab also listed a handful of steps that could be taken to enhance your wireless security. And while it's all good advice, it left out one of the most important.

Well, it's not really breaking news, security firm Kaspersky Lab is pointing out the obvious: that most home and small business wireless networks run at a low, or no, level of security. Kaspersky Lab also listed a handful of steps that could be taken to enhance your wireless security. And while it's all good advice, it left out one of the most important.According to the results of the Kaspersky Lab Wireless Internet Access Survey, while 57% of U.K. homes are wirelessly enabled, only 35% of the people they surveyed have taken reasonable precautions to lock down their router.

Here are the five items Kaspersky Lab listed, and they're all wise moves, especially if your wireless router is in an urban area.

1. Change the administrator password for the wireless router. Just 19% of respondents had taken this basic precaution, despite the ease with which a hacker is able to find out the manufacturer's default password and use this to access the wireless network.

2. Avoid using a password that can be guessed easily.

3. Enable encryption: WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption is best, if the device supports it. If not, WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) should be used. The survey revealed that 11% had the preferred WPA, 18% had WEP, only 6% had WPA2, and 22% did not know what encryption setting they had.

4. Switch off SSID (Service Set Identifier) broadcasting. This prevents the wireless device announcing its presence to the world. Only 4% of respondents to the survey had SSID switched off.

5. Change the default SSID name of the device. It's easy for a hacker to find out the manufacturer's default name and use this to locate your wireless network. Avoid using a name that can be guessed easily: follow the guidelines provided in the section below on choosing a password.

Sure, it's just plain stupid having your router broadcast "name of manufacturer here" with a username of "admin" and the factory password. You may as well leave your front door open. But Kaspersky Lab failed to list using Network Address Translation, or NAT for short, to protect all of your devices that use your wireless connection. All you need to do is make sure you have a NAT-capable router, and set it up.

Basically, when using NAT, from the Internet it appears that only one device is accessing the Internet, and it also goes a long way to making sure a lot of different types of malware don't find their way on your system. For a good explanation on NAT, I recommend reading Steve Gibson's excellent write-up.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Dark Reading Live EVENTS
INsecurity - For the Defenders of Enterprise Security
A Dark Reading Conference
While red team conferences focus primarily on new vulnerabilities and security researchers, INsecurity puts security execution, protection, and operations center stage. The primary speakers will be CISOs and leaders in security defense; the blue team will be the focus.
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Tell the sysadmin that we have a situation.
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
As cyber attackers become more sophisticated and enterprise defenses become more complex, many enterprises are faced with a complicated question: what is the risk of an IT security breach? This report delivers insight on how today's enterprises evaluate the risks they face. This report also offers a look at security professionals' concerns about a wide variety of threats, including cloud security, mobile security, and the Internet of Things.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.