How I Secured My Wireless Network in 5 Minutes Flat
The other day, I got my first wireless router for my house. The device came pre-configured
for serving an open wireless network. By "open", I mean that the network can be used without authenticating.
This configuration has the advantage of being really convenient for me, but it is also really convenient
for my neighbors and passers-by.
While I am all for the idea of a publicly accessible and free internet, I don't want to be
personally responsible for the web visits that go through my wireless connection. Since my ISP sees me
as the responsible party for all network traffic through my home network, I'd like to add some security
to my home wireless network.
There are many security and configuration choices available to a home network administrator.
In my case I want to ensure that only authorized computers are on my network. Feel free to make
other choices for your home network, I don't claim to know your security needs.
So, I'll just be pretty open with how it went for me. That way if you have the same equipment,
it'll be a cheat sheet. I completed all these steps in around 5 minutes. I have a Linksys router
WRT54G and a Windows XP laptop. I wanted to do 2 things:
1) stop publishing SSID (this makes it so that passers by don't see the presence of my network)
2) filter wireless access by creating an allow list of MAC addresses (all I need is the MAC address
of my laptop).
First, I visit the router's admin page by pointing a browser to the internal IP Address
of 192.168.1.1 and authenticate. The router is actually pretty neat in that it allows
the network administrator to configure its settings using web pages that the router itself serves.
192.168.1.1 is a standard internal address for the configuration page Linksys routers.
Note: If you haven't yet visited the admin page for your router, please consult the documentation
that came with your device and be sure to update the password for your router configuration.
This is the router's home page:
Then I clicked Wireless and set Wireless SSID broadcast to Disable and clicked Save Settings.
Then I clicked Wireless MAC Filter (in the second layer navigation) and selected the option to Enable the filter. I also checked the option to Permit only PCs listed to access the network.
To write the MAC addresses of the PCs,
I clicked Edit MAC Filter List and input my laptop's MAC address.
That's all I had to do. Everything worked throughout the process, no rebooting necessary.
To learn more about . . .
Your MAC address and how to determine it, check out the instructions available at www-dcn.fnal.gov/DCG-Docs/mac/index.html
WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and how it works, visit Secure IT's June 2005 article "Advanced Wireless Security for the Masses".
CIS Training & Communications Manager |
863-7371 | http://training.brown.edu