Fast Track India

All your network are belongs to us

Posted in Education, Technology by Manish on May 3, 2009

Note: This post contains information, educative material and NO rant

The Hindu carried out an article pushing the ever debated topic – Open Wi-Fi access points. The problem narrows down the the fact that these router are not set to use the security features by default. Most of the routers used these days have support for security, but people are ignorant how to use them.

We cant blame any individual for this. Wi-Fi routers are becoming common and going mainstream. Who wants to carry the wire wherever they go in their building or home? How many of them are tech-savvy? How many of them even give a thought that open networks are a danger not only to the country, but also to themselves. I am responsible for any misuse of the Internet connection which I have in my name.

The routers have many security features in them. To name a few MAC Address white-listing, SSID broadcast disabling and Encryption using WPA and WPA2. Let’s check each one of them

  • MAC Addresses are physical address which should be unique to each hardware. The router can be set to accept connections only from these white-listed addresses. I know my definition of MAC address is not completely correct, but still it can give you a faint idea.
  • SSID is Service Set Identifier which gives a name to the wifi network. Broadcasting is a bit risky, but still accepted.
  • Encryptions like WEP, WPA and WPA2 are used usually. WEP should not be used as it easy to crack. WPA and WPA2 are becoming quite common and WPA2 should be used as much as possible. The only problem with WPA2 is that not all wifi cards in laptops are supported.

The problem zeroes down to the fact that who is responsible for educating the non-techy users how to securely use the routers? Don’t you feel that the ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) have greater responsibilties in this reguard?

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