MAC addr filtering instead of WEP - safe?

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rainy-day

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Hi, I have an old linksys wireless router and a laptop with intel proset/wireless card. I can't get WEP to work. I've tried a million things, the short end of story is that nothing helps at all. I've spent last couple of days on it.. Anyway, I found that if I turn off WEP and set mac filter to the mac # of the card in the laptop, it does work. if I set the mac # to something else, I can't connect so it seems like it's safe. But is it as safe as WEP? Should I try to get WEP to work? I hate to spend more time on this but if it's unsafe I'll have to.. Please comment! thanks!!!
 

anlore2001

Andrew
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I don't see anything wrong with using this method of MAC filtering instead of the WEP. I use it on two networks I've set up and it appears to be bullet proof. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong... but you should be fine.
 

cwwozniak

Chuck
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Hi rainy-day, and welcome to TSG.

Are you trying to keep an honest person from accidentally using your wireless network or trying to keep someone with a bit of hacking skills from getting in?

WEP and/or MAC filtering will keep the honest people out but will merely slow down someone wanting to get in.

When you are connected wirelessly to your router, someone sniffing your wireless traffic would only need a few minutes to crack the WEP key.

Your wireless data packets contain your MAC address and a hacker could easily extract it from the packets. As you have found out, modern networking hardware allows the user to set the MAC address to anything they want. The hacker could then clone your MAC address to their own wireless hardware. The two of you would have all kinds of communications errors if the hacker then tried to connect at the same time you were still connected.
 

rainy-day

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cwwozniak said:
Hi rainy-day, and welcome to TSG.

Are you trying to keep an honest person from accidentally using your wireless network or trying to keep someone with a bit of hacking skills from getting in?

WEP and/or MAC filtering will keep the honest people out but will merely slow down someone wanting to get in.

When you are connected wirelessly to your router, someone sniffing your wireless traffic would only need a few minutes to crack the WEP key.

Your wireless data packets contain your MAC address and a hacker could easily extract it from the packets. As you have found out, modern networking hardware allows the user to set the MAC address to anything they want. The hacker could then clone your MAC address to their own wireless hardware. The two of you would have all kinds of communications errors if the hacker then tried to connect at the same time you were still connected.
Hi Chuck, thanks for the reply.. I don't want people to slow down my connection by
getting on my network. If someone would connect and surf a few sites now and then,
I would not mind that.

In addition of course I would not like someone to crack into my network and for example
to install a keylogger and take my credit card #, etc. I have a file with passwords and
such things but it is encrypted.

What do you suggest is the best thing to do? How about 128bit WEP, is it more secure?
Can you point me to a good guide for securing a wireless network? thanks!
 

JohnWill

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106,429
If you really want to secure your wireless network, there is really only one way.

WPA/WPA2 is the only secure encryption available. SSID hiding, MAC filtering, or WEP encryption might slow a novice down, but they're far from secure.

I'd spend $20-30 and get a router that supports WPA.
 

rainy-day

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4
JohnWill said:
If you really want to secure your wireless network, there is really only one way.

WPA/WPA2 is the only secure encryption available. SSID hiding, MAC filtering, or WEP encryption might slow a novice down, but they're far from secure.

I'd spend $20-30 and get a router that supports WPA.
Thanks for the reply.. I just bought the current router, actually for exactly $25 used. I was looking for routers in that range and didn't find any except for a few models from unknown brands and they were more like $40-50 and I didn't find any reviews for them online. What is a good model to get in that range? Are you talking about used ones? I realize that for a router it doesn't matter at all because it's out of sight.

However I'm a bit reluctant to buy one right now and before I do get one, is there any
advantage in using WEP 128 or WEP 32 or is it fine to just use mac filtering since I can't get WPA now? thanks!
 

rainy-day

Thread Starter
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JohnWill said:
What router do you have, make/model? Are you SURE a firmware upgrade doesn't support WPA?

FWIW, you probably paid too much for a used router that doesn't support WPA, here's one for $5 after rebate that does: http://dealnews.com/TRENDnet-802-11...-for-5-shipped-after-rebates-more/192795.html
linksys BEFW11S4 V.3 .. I'm sure there's no WPA because I updated firmware and only choices are either to have WEP mandatory or to disable it. Yeah, I did pay too much. I did not know much about routers so I went to buy.com and amazon and picked the cheapest one from a well known company.. It's a shame that they made them so insecure.
 

Squashman

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rainy-day said:
linksys BEFW11S4 V.3 .. I'm sure there's no WPA because I updated firmware and only choices are either to have WEP mandatory or to disable it. Yeah, I did pay too much. I did not know much about routers so I went to buy.com and amazon and picked the cheapest one from a well known company.. It's a shame that they made them so insecure.
No, it was made before WPA was created. MAC filtering won't do anything for you. Would take a competent computer person about 10 seconds to get thru that.


Looks like only version 4 of that router supports WPA. I will never understand why they do that.
 

TerryNet

Terry
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Mar 23, 2005
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81,401
Nothing to add to the WEP is unsecure and MAC address filtering is pretty worthless discussion, but WEP will keep out the great majority of people.

If you were using an ascii passcode, DO NOT. Those look convenient but can be translated differently by different devices. Use a HEX key--10 digits for 64-bit WEP and 26 digits for 128-bit WEP. I've been told that it makes very little difference using 128-bit WEP.
 

JohnWill

Retired Moderator
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106,429
Correct Terry, if someone can crack the 64 bit WEP, the same tools crack the 128 bit WEP. :)
 
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