Secure your wireless network/WAN, no one else will

I noticed some naughty young hacker looking boys in the park next to my home which got me thinking how INsecure my personal wireless network was… Stock-standard SSID: unicorn, Security: None, Router setup password: admin. Not Good!

There are various lists and services to discover your own broadband router manufacturer’s default IP and password. You can google those but after many failed searches I followed my intuition and checked my unsecured Wi-Fi network Default Route IP in my network connection pane and entered THAT into my browser.. BINGO!

This link here was useful, and I entered the password “admin”.

I followed those steps in that link:

Important note! Connect using a wired LAN to setup your router.

On my router’s setup page, I chose “preferences” then found my way with some trial and error (made difficult because my router’s setup UI is in Korean – used chrome to translate it)
1. Changed my password from admin to “mypassword”
2. Changed my SSID to “mine”
3. Selected WEP 40/128-bit key

4. Entered four unique 26 character Hexadecimal keys on that router admin page..
Allowed characters are “0-9″ and “a-f” eg. 123456789abcdef10237689546
Saved these keys to a file on my computer. I also made a backup as a draft in my email (perhaps not wise, but knowing myself and paswword.. :-) eg.
WEP Key 1 = 123456789abcdef10237689546
WEP Key 2 = 123456789abcdef10237687896
WEP Key 3 = 1234abcdef123def1023768956
WEP Key 4 = 123456789abcdeab123456d546

It took some guesswork but eventually I got a notice saying something about “Reboot”. So I turned off my router box and rebooted my laptop. Unplugged the wired connection to the internet and waited to discover my wifi. It was now renamed and secured.

Now all I needed to do was setup my network. My laptop is running Ubuntu (Karmic Koala) but I am certain these procedures are very easy to perform on Mandriva.

Select WEP 40/128-bit key
And toggle to Authentication: Shared Key
Drop down to WEP index: 1 and enter WEP Key 1 from my records file
and hit apply.
I did the same routine for WEP Index 2-4 entering the corresponding keys from my file record.

My wireless network is now encrypted with WEP. I have heard that WPA encryption is more solid, but I can’t be too bothered. WEP is better than nil. Good luck and have fun blocking those would be hackers out there.

*Update:
I have now encrypted using WPA2-PSK(AES)
at Step 3 above, select WPA2-PSK(AES) then ASCII and enter a single password
A good password contains a mix of upper and lower case characters, letter and numbers. You can also include punctuation characters. To be quite honest, I was surprised at how simple WPA security setup is. So there. Life is easier than we expect sometimes. With my setup, I only have one key which all devices will share, unlike WEP keys which different users can each have a special key. One user can have a key revoked as well, giving the admin of a network some level of control which is lacking with my current setup.

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