Network secure? Think again

Network secure? Think again

Automated Wi-Fi Security

Even though Windows 2000 and earlier versions don't support WPA2 network security, you can still have a secure wireless network under older Windows releases, with the help of the right tools.

McAfee's Wireless Home Network Security software can configure the Wi-Fi security settings for many different wireless gateways and for up to three networked PCs.

The company maintains a list of the devices that the program works with. Though the software can't handle WPA2 yet, it does address one of WPA's weaknesses: the protocol's use of a static key, which makes it easier to crack.

The program automatically generates, and then rotates through, new keys on any PC on the network, and on the gateway itself.

One way to check the security of a wireless network is with Marius Milner's Netstumbler utility. Not only can the program help you determine a network's vulnerability, but it can also reveal the sources of network interference and identify areas of weak signal strength. Netstumbler is free to use, but the author requests that you make a donation of $US50 (which he refers to as "beggarware") if you like it.

Six-Step Plan

Deploying a wireless network can lead to security problems and a loss of service if the network is not properly secured. After chatting with the experts, here's are a few quick steps for resellers implementing wireless networks.

  • Plan antenna placement
  • Use Wireless Protected Access 2 (WPA2).
  • Change the Service Set Identifier (SSID) and disable its broadcast
  • Disable DHCP
  • Dispose or modify SNMP settings
  • Use access lists

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