Linksys WRT54GC Router -- Security Question

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TaliesinSoft

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Mar 30, 2005, 6:19:35 PM3/30/05
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We have two Mac laptops connected via Airport to a Linksys WRT54GC router
which in turn is connected via ethernet to a cable modem. The various
connection settings are those that were automatically put in place, to put it
bluntly, we just connected it and it works, well almost as nothing at all
worked until we followed a friend's suggestion to turn off the cable modem
for several hours. (The cable modem was previously connected to one of the
Macs via ethernet.) What I would like to know is if there are things that
should be done in terms of security that are not automatically a part of the
default settings. I will absolutely admit to being in the minor leagues when
it comes to understanding all of the nuances of wireless connectivity.

Many thanks in advance for comments and/or suggestions.

-- James L. Ryan -- TaliesinSoft

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John Johnson

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Mar 30, 2005, 10:35:09 PM3/30/05
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In article <smokerz-3003052220360001@localhost>,
smo...@NOSPAMcomcast.net (Smokerz) wrote:

> In article <0001HW.BE709027...@news.dallas.sbcglobal.net>,

> The first thing to do is to password protect your router from outsiders.
> Use your web browser and read the manual to enter. Not difficult at all.

Then you disable wireless administration so that someone would have to
get into your house with a cable in order to change your router
settings.

As another poster mentioned, WPA is the way to go if you can, WEP is
better than nothing.

Keep a SECURE record of your settings, so that if you forget your
password you don't have to regenerate everything from scratch, or if you
do have to re-enter data, you don't forget something.

I've not had good luck with turning off SSID broadcast: it often was
impossible for me to log into my own network, so I turned it back on.

The WRT45G uses more-or-less standard names for its options, so
searching on those names can provide information about what that option
does (useful for the more advanced stuff that you may not be familiar
with). As always, piling through the archives of these groups is worth
doing.

--
Later.
joha...@indianahoosiers.edu
Let 'indiana' be a 'noln', and 'hoosiers' be a 'solkk'.
Leave only the 'noln' and .edu after the @ to reply .


TaliesinSoft

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Apr 1, 2005, 10:57:54 AM4/1/05
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I fully appreciate the comments and suggestions that followed my original
posting in this thread.

Now for another question! I have the Linksys wireless router now "protected"
with a name and password, which I understand makes it difficult for anyone to
change its configuration. I then attempted to enable WPA, but that resulted
in my being unable to communicate at all. I then did a hard reset of the
Linksys and then restored the name and password. So, the remaining question
is what do I need to do to enable WPA?

Again, thanks in advance for any suggestions, etc.

o-chan

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Apr 1, 2005, 11:55:40 AM4/1/05
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Make sure under WPA you are using TKIP, not the other one.

Search the Apple support site for supported WPA parameters. Airport
extreme supports WPA/TKIP but I'm not sure about the older airport
cards. IIRC WPA did not exist or was not yet a standard when Aiport
cards were introduced, and this is a protocol that requires hardware
support. In either case make sure the airport software and the firmware
for the card is up to date.

Also, on the security topic, make sure you change the login ID and
password to get into your router's firmware, or even if WPA is enabled,
someone can type in "Linksys" and "admin" and do whatever they want.

TaliesinSoft

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Apr 1, 2005, 12:44:24 PM4/1/05
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On Fri, 1 Apr 2005 10:55:40 -0600, o-chan wrote
(in article <d2juef$55n4$1...@netnews.upenn.edu>):

o-chan,

Well, your suggestion worked and I'm now using WPA Personal with TKIP. It
turned out that both computers in question had the correct versions of
Airport software/firmware. As to why my prior attempt failed, that will just
have to remain a mystery!

Many thanks.

Jim

G. Louie

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Apr 1, 2005, 12:58:29 PM4/1/05
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You can tell us what models Macs you have. As others have said, generally:
-Connect a computer to the Linksys, and change the admin login and
password.
-You may as well use all security measures available to you. Even if some
are considered wimpy, that's what you have. It's better than nothing. Used
together, it will keep casual crackers off. Sometimes there is a minor
performance hit.
-Change the SSID name from the default (Linksys) and set it to not
broadcast. This means anyone you want on your network will have to know
the SSID name and enter it on their computer.
-use WEP encryption if your Macs do not have Airport Extreme, preferably
128 bit rather than 40/64. Yes, it's a pain to set up, but you should.
Linksys allows creating a password that automatically creates the hex
WEP key. Anyone using your network will have to be given either the
password or the huge hex key (as well as the SSID) to get onto your
network. Sometimes you have to enter the hex key preceded by a $. Macs
will remember these. Use WPA if you have Airport Extreme.
-Activate MAC address filtering. Set it to allow only specific MAC (media
access controller) addresses, essentially unique ID numbers of an ethernet
or wifi card. Your MAC numbers of your ethernet and Airport cards are
revealed in System Preferences/Network Preferences. Either these numbers
have to be entered into the Linksys list, or if you can get the client
computers recognized by the Linksys, they show up on the list and you
acknowledge that.
-Be careful in making the Linksys settings to save each stage of
configuration. It is very easy to move on and not save a setting.
-I believe there is a utility to save a configuration file for the Linksys
on your computer. If you ever have to do a full default reset of the
Linksys (pressing the reset button only; powering off/on only reloads the
current configuration), the configuration file can restore the whole
router easily. If you ever do press the reset button, be aware the whole
router is reset to factory defaults and is no longer secured.

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