TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Take the Trouble to Block WiFi Poachers

Re: Take the Trouble to Block WiFi Poachers
Mon, 25 Oct 2004 22:54:14 UTC

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in response to Monty Solomon:

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I have some comments and questions
> about this: On my Wi-fi card (Netgear MA-521, 32-bit cardbus) I was
> lucky for a while to get twenty feet away, in other words, my
> computer area and into the next room. But I could barely get outside
> my house, and certainly not into my parlor or my bedroom. A cheap
> piece of cardboard and tinfoil (serving as a reflector to push the
> signal around helped with that.) Now I can get my parlor/bedroom

I don't think that is atypical. "punch" "brick wall" and "802.11"
don't belong in the same sentence. Is the tinfoil an EZ-10 from ?

> I assume this is how 'hackers' (i.e. spammers, kiddie-porn downloaders)
> work, am I correct? When I have clicked on his base-station (and like

The hacker or poacher would probably have a program called Netstumbler
running, a gps connected to a laptop for automatically marking
locations of signals, and a better antenna than the one you have.

> message on my screen saying 'to connect with this channel please
> enter the proper encryption.' I use 128-bit encryption, which I
> guess is

WEP comes in 64 and 128 bit varieties. For typical residential use,
you have done the right thing, and so has your neighbor.

> place I can contact his station and try to hack out his encryption

Other than guesswork, there are software packages that can crack the
WEP code, but they require a hefty amount of data to flow across the
link, using, in part, a known portion of the encoded packet that keeps
repeating to help crack the rest. You probably don't send that much
data in a short enough period of time to keep anyone parked out in
front long enough to crack your WEP code. There are too many
unsecured residences, and valuable businesses, to bother cracking

> password, etc. I would not have the patience for it. But unlike him,
> I guess, I also told my base station 'do not broadcast your own
> name'.

That has almost no effect in your case ... It would prevent some
scanners from finding you, but if they found him and sat there, they
would find you soon enough. Pretty much all blocking your SSID does
is make it harder for you to connect using Windows XP, which really
likes to see the SSID.

> Now what else should I do, or can I do within reason, to stay protected?

For a residence, I think you've done all you need to do. You might
cahnge your WEP code every once in a while.

Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8-122.5

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Yes, it is an EZ-10 from
and it may be my imagination, but I *think* it is making things better,
and things do seem to be better, *I think*, so I guess that is what
counts. And, I just recently turned on 'access control', a condition
in the Net Gear where the base only responds to my MAC address.

If someone wants to park in my driveway (off the alley) or park in
front of my house -- and hope in both cases I did not see them and
wonder about them -- or rent the vacant house next door and move in
without my seeing them or any computers and then discover my
unannounced signal and work out the encryption then (based on that
information) figure out a way to forge my MAC address and then proceed
to 'borrow' my resources, then God Bless them. They are a better man
than I -- which wouldn't be very hard, considering my partial
paralysis, my inability to put things together in my head for more
than a few seconds at a time, etc. PAT]

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