Forward and backward
If we had told you eight years ago, when 802.11b was really taking off, that one day in the future you would be able to pick up at least ten different wireless networks on any given block of a major metropolitan city, you might have believed us. But if we had also told you that many of these would be either unsecured, or secured using methods that were widely known to be flawed and easily crackable (i.e. WEP and MAC address filtering)… well, given the average user's well-known apathy toward all things security-related, you still might have believed us.
But what if I had told you that, in eight years, all the major methods available for securing your wireless network would be known to have major flaws, and that there was pretty much no way to keep a truly determined attacker off of your WAN? That claim might have raised a few eyebrows, but unfortunately it would've been true.
Nonetheless, if you take the attitude that when it comes to wireless security, "something is better than nothing," then all is not lost. In this installment of Classic.Ars, we go back into the archives to present you with two of our investigations into the whys and hows of wireless security.
Theory and practiceWireless Security BlackpaperThe ABC's of Securing Your Wireless Network
The first article, the Wireless Security Blackpaper, was published in 2002 as an in-depth look at the theory and practice of wireless security. Surprisingly, many of the technologies that it covers are still in widespread use, which is probably why the article remains a relatively popular one six years after its initial publication.
Our second, more recent article, focuses on the practical aspects of wireless security. The ABC's of Securing Your Wireless Network offers a crash course in securing your wireless router, with basic instructions on which options to select, and which methods work with which types of devices. If you're looking for a link to pass on to the wireless newbie in your family who's hounding you for help with their new Linksys, this is it.
Ultimately, no wireless network is truly bulletproof, but the two guides linked above will keep over 90 percent of miscreants and would-be leechers off of your WAN. And in the end, the security that you use is infinitely better than the security that you don't use.Posted on