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Securing a wireless home network- Don't disable the 'SSID Broadcast'?


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MuleSkinner MuleSkinner is offline
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11-Feb-2011, 07:37 PM #1
Securing a wireless home network- Don't disable the 'SSID Broadcast'?
Quote:
Don't disable the 'SSID Broadcast'. Do not disable the 'SSID Broadcast' feature of your Access Point or router. This seems counter-intuitive, but it is actually a bad idea.[3] Although this would make your network invisible to your neighbors, any determined hacker can still sniff out your SSID; and you are implicitly forcing your computer to shout out your SSID anywhere you are, while it is trying to connect to it. Anyone could then impersonate your router with that SSID, and get your credentials that way.
http://www.wikihow.com/Secure-Your-W...s-Home-Network

Quote:
Question: Joshua, please let me know your thoughts on disabling broadcasting your router’s SSID.

Joshua Wright: It’s a bad idea. I know the PCI specification requires you to do this, and I’ve told them they need to remove this requirement from the specification. Imagine you are a government base and you don’t tell your agents where you are located. They have to walk around and keep asking “Are you the government base?” to everyone the meet. Eventually, some wily hacker or bad guy will say “Heck YEAH I’m your base, come on in and share your secrets with me.” This is essentially what happens with SSID cloaking, where you have to ask every AP you meet if their desired SSID is available, allowing an attacker to impersonate your SSID at the airport, coffee shop, in the airplane, etc. In short, don’t cloak your SSID, but don’t make your SSID something like “sexyhackertargethere” either.
http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/wir...tep-behind/205

The little 3 in the first quote references the second quote as a source. What aren't I getting about this? I don't see how making the SSID invisible makes one's network any less secure and this is the opposite advice I've read in every other guide.
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MuleSkinner MuleSkinner is offline
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11-Feb-2011, 09:34 PM #2
I found the answer to my own question:
Quote:
Hidden Wireless SSIDs Actually Leak Your SSID Name When you hide your wireless SSID on the router side of things, what actually happens behind the scenes is that your laptop or mobile device is going to start pinging over the air to try and find your router—no matter where you are. So you’re sitting there at the neighborhood coffee shop, and your laptop or iPhone is telling anybody with a network scanner that you’ve got a hidden network at your house or job. Microsoft’s Technet explains exactly why hidden SSIDs are not a security feature, especially with older clients:
Quote:
A non-broadcast network is not undetectable. Non-broadcast networks are advertised in the probe requests sent out by wireless clients and in the responses to the probe requests sent by wireless APs. Unlike broadcast networks, wireless clients running Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or Windows Server® 2003 with Service Pack 1 that are configured to connect to non-broadcast networks are constantly disclosing the SSID of those networks, even when those networks are not in range. Therefore, using non-broadcast networks compromises the privacy of the wireless network configuration of a Windows XP or Windows Server 2003-based wireless client because it is periodically disclosing its set of preferred non-broadcast wireless networks.
The behavior is a little better in Windows 7 or Vista as long as you don’t have automatic connection enabled—the only way to be sure that you’re not leaking the network name is to disable automatic connection to wireless networks with a hidden SSID. Microsoft’s explanation:
Quote:
The Connect even if the network is not broadcasting check box determines whether the wireless network broadcasts (cleared, the default value) or does not broadcast (selected) its SSID. When selected, Wireless Auto Configuration sends probe requests to discover if the non-broadcast network is in range.
http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/28653...y-more-secure/
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