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Old 28th May 2009, 02:46 PM   #1
camilian
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Default Watch Your Wifi!

DO NOT do any banking, email, or even log into a site over wifi. I hate to be a doomsayer. But after looking into my own wifi security I have found that it is very easy to break a wifi password, and even more scary to put a computer between you and the internet (man in the middle attack) so that all our info goes through the attacker's computer while accessing the internet. I plan on making some videos soon to explain how it works and show you what you can do to protect yourself (vpn), but for now... just don't do it! Plug in that Ethernet cable!

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Old 10th June 2009, 08:03 PM   #2
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You just need a Wireless home network security software, to secure your wireless connections.

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Old 24th June 2009, 10:59 PM   #3
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There is one issue that should concern you with regard to any site where you input sensitive information. This issue includes your everyday Internet use from any location.

That issue is how easy it is to capture and analyse your Internet traffic. It's called "sniffing".

ALL Internet traffic is capable of being "sniffed" at any time and at many points in its travels. We must accept this, because it is true, and we assume that it will continue to be true forever. That's a load off, huh? Whew! So what do we do about it? We make it difficult, or near impossible for WHAT is "sniffed" to be of any value to the bad guys.

Since it CAN be "sniffed", then you want to make sure that sensitive communications, like banking transactions, offer up some serious "stink". Not the good kind. You want your "secure" traffic to be completely unintelligible to anyone who is inspecting it.

With cables, a bad guy needs to have physical access to the connection or some point along the wires in order to be able to "sniff" the Internet traffic you are generating. So that's a good thing.

With wireless, the traffic can be "sniffed" right out of the air (seemingly). So that's a bit less "secure" simply because access to the traffic is easier.

You can hide the fact that you have a wireless router, and set it up so that all of the "traffic" to and from it is "secure" by using the router's setup program. Definitely DO use it.

That means using "encryption", which means garbling it up on one end, sending it down the line and then un-garbling it on the receiving end.

Your router offers various levels of encryption, ranging from the very light to the very strong. You need something moderate to fight off your everyday bad guys. If the NSA is hunting you, you want something stronger. Use something higher than WEP encryption, at any rate, if your router offers it. You'll be fine for a couple of years. Just make sure your wireless home computers and laptops can also use that same level.

That takes care of encryption from the wireless computer(s) to the wireless router. Cabled computers don't use encryption from the computer to the jack because you need physical access to "sniff" it. Wireless encryption acts to fortify that more easily-"sniffed" connection.

Regardless of how it gets into the pipeline, the traffic can still be "sniffed" after it leaves your home, pretty much anywhere along the way to its destination. So you need to make sure your traffic is encrypted by the website you are visiting to establish an end-to-end encryption environment, from the browser to the banking site and back.

(Encryption from the laptop to the router protects that connection, and an encrypted "https://" session protects the traffic all the way, cable or not.)

As long as the website you are connecting to uses a "secure protocol", your traffic WILL be encrypted, and you can be confident that your banking session will be kept private from "sniffing" noses.

Websites and web browsers work together to tell you when it is "safe" ... the website (a) actually changes the way you talk to it so that encryption is active and (b) the website shows you that it is using an encrypted connection by switching to the "https://" protocol, instead of the usual "http://" protocol, and (c) the web browser, as it is responding to and validating the security "certificates" provided by the website, will do something obvious to let you know that the "session" is "secured", like maybe turning the Address Bar green or popping up a notice or locking a little padlock icon or whatever. It WILL let you know.

As long as your wireless device is "secured" and as long as you look for the "https://" protocol and the other signs your web browser has validated the security of the website you are visiting, your information is as safe as it CAN be, whether you use a cable or not.

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Old 8th January 2010, 06:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Watch Your Wifi!

Wi-fi is prone to hacking because data can be easily intercepted with intercepting devices. The data travels in air so it is scattered a little bit and can easily be stolen. I agree with you. Ethernet cabled-network is much safer than Wi-fi but also a little bit dangerous if it is not your own personal computer and you're just renting it in some computer cafes.

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Old 30th January 2010, 10:28 PM   #5
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WEP is easily cracked. WPA2 is supposed to be pretty secure, use a strong passphrase with it.

BTW, if you're not familiar with how to set this, many routers have a web interface - it's just a matter of going to a local ip address in your browser, for example 192.168.0.0 or 192.168.1.1. You can find out for sure (as well as find out the default login & password) by googling your make & model router. Of course, you'll want to change the login password to a non-default one.

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Old 23rd February 2010, 03:24 PM   #6
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You should NEVER assume that the network you are on is secure. It almost certainly is NOT. Internet traffic flows over a series of networks that are all out of your control.

NEVER use any protocol that transfers passwords in clear text. That means telnet, pop3, imap, ftp, etc.

use SSH, pop3s, imaps, sftp, etc.

Even if everything is locked down and secure unexpected things can happen. Many years ago I saw a security expert build a device that could "sniff" network traffic on a wire by watching (optically) the flashing network activity LED on the switch port. Sure it was not very elegant and required a line-of-sight position to the switch but the point is that he could read the traffic without leaving ANY trace that it was happening. His little demo caused some of the major switch manufacturers to add circuitry to the led flash circuit so that it doesn't flash in a 1:1 ratio to the bits as they come in.

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Old 15th March 2010, 10:34 AM   #7
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Camilian, its surprising how many people out there use public wifi hotspot believing they are 100% safe.

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Old 23rd November 2011, 11:55 AM   #8
AdamC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camilian View Post
DO NOT do any banking, email, or even log into a site over wifi. I hate to be a doomsayer. But after looking into my own wifi security I have found that it is very easy to break a wifi password, and even more scary to put a computer between you and the internet (man in the middle attack) so that all our info goes through the attacker's computer while accessing the internet. I plan on making some videos soon to explain how it works and show you what you can do to protect yourself (vpn), but for now... just don't do it! Plug in that Ethernet cable!
Sorry to shoot you down but it's a little incorrect.

I'll assume you are referring to man-in-the-middle attacks and ARP poisoning / spoofing and such like...

1 - Wifi isn't weak, the encryption method is.
WEP is "crackable" very quickly, even with a secure password.
A weak WEP key can be cracked in under 3 seconds. Stronger passwords just require more packets to be sniffed.
WPA2 is only really "crackable" if a weak password is used or a massive network conducts a rainbow table attack.

2 - Most banks use SSL encryption which makes a man-in-the-middle attack very unlikely unless further exploitation is used to spoof the SSL cert and domain name and a lot of skill with passthroughs and what not... Which is very, very, very difficult and requires the hacker to be within close range.

3 - Using a VPN can actually make your network less secure if you don't know what you're doing as it requires opening ports and the like.

4 - Windows OS and program exploits are far more likely to get your network compromised than a direct wifi attack.


@bizcard: Software won't and can't help.


Quote:
Originally Posted by davshirley View Post
Many years ago I saw a security expert build a device that could "sniff" network traffic on a wire by watching (optically) the flashing network activity LED on the switch port. Sure it was not very elegant and required a line-of-sight position to the switch but the point is that he could read the traffic without leaving ANY trace that it was happening. His little demo caused some of the major switch manufacturers to add circuitry to the led flash circuit so that it doesn't flash in a 1:1 ratio to the bits as they come in.
^Sounds like BS to me. Unless it was done in the mid 80s.


I use online banking, email, and a lot more using wifi... You just have to know what you're doing:
1 - Make sure any important site is accessed via https.
2 - If using online banking, use https and see if they offer second factor authentication. Most have a system linked to your card and PIN number.
3 - Change your router to from WEP to WPA2 if supported. If unsupported, upgrade!
4 - Change your WiFi password to be secure (https://www.grc.com/passwords.htm)

Just a side note, but if you were aware how insecure your bank card is, you would never take it out of your pocket! That doesn't mean you should never use it.


/rant


Last edited by AdamC; 23rd November 2011 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 13th March 2013, 01:25 AM   #9
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I have changed my default password and usually switch of my modem when I am not using it, rest I don't use any special security software

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Old 10th May 2013, 01:44 PM   #10
noahwilson
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Nice discussion, its really so informative and helpful for me.

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