Now here’s a good reason for securing your wireless network…

I have mentioned wireless security on the blog before and I am talking about real security not “feel good” security; at the very least you should be using WPA and preferably WPA2.

The Register reports on the consequences that have happened to a poor American expatriate living in India who just so happened to run an open unsecured wireless network.

Indian police raided the Mumbai home of an American expatriate after someone used his open wireless network to send an email that took responsibility for a bomb blast that killed at least 42 people.

Kenneth Haywood, whose internet-protocol address was included on an email sent just prior to the blasts, spent much of Thursday answering questions by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad officials. Police seized his three computers, as well as the machines of several neighbors, and are examining them as part of an investigation.

This story demonstrates a rare but real risk of running an open wireless network.

You’re starting to annoy me…

My Canon MP600r is starting to annoy me.

Every time I try to print from my iMac, the printer can not be found on the wireless network.

If I power cycle the printer, it “magically” appears and I can print!

The same more often then not for scanning.

Now I have no real idea what the problem is, whether it is a wireless, printer or some other issue.

I do need to do some further testing. Things I may do including connecting the printer by wire to a wireless WET54G and see if it is a printer issue.

If it is a wireless issue I may connect the printer direct to the iMac by USB and share it across the network.

Canon MP600r

More soon…

The Cloud “killed” my iPod

Okay to say that a Cloud wifi hotspot killed my iPod is exaggerating somewhat, however it did kill Safari for a while and certainly wasn’t easy to sort out.

iPod touch

I had used my iPod touch at a free wifi hotspot which used the Cloud network.

I had signed in and used the web and no problems.

A few days later I wanted to use the web again on the iPod, but regardless of which site I tried to use whether it be entered manually or through a bookmark, Safari on the iPod just reverted back to the Cloud login page!

I couldn’t log out as I was not connected to the Cloud.

So I switched the iPod touch off and no luck, it still revered to the Cloud login screen.

Now I was getting annoyed.

I knew it wasn’t a connectivity issue, as I could use e-mail and other internet functions on the iPod, but could I use Safari? No I could not!

In the end, I worked out that if I managed to stop the Cloud page from loading, I could get Safari working again.

It was a really weird error that would  not be resolved easily, but at least I resolved it without needing to restore the iPod which is where I was going.

Should I be running a hidden or closed wireless network?

So should you be hiding your wireless network? Should you be closing your Airport network? Should you be not broadcasting your SSID (service set identifier)?

Some people do this to make their network invisible.

Should I be running a hidden or closed wireless network?

Most people are not aware that hiding your SSID or “closing” your network, does not in fact make your network invisible.

All it does is stop broadcasting your SSID (network name).

Your network is still broadcasting and therefore detectable.

I have a (modern) Sony VAIO which can pick up closed networks without any extra software – the ability is built into the latest intel chipsets.

As well as your network still broadcasting your network will also “broadcast” your SSID everytime a client joins your network.

Why?

Well you want to join the network, so you tell the router that you want to join.

You tell it the SSID, it says okay and lets you join.

When you told it the SSID, this was broadcast in the clear and can be easily picked out by “sniffer” programmes.

Exactly the same process can be used to sniff out the the authorised MAC address if you use MAC address access control.

Unfortunately “Closed” networks, MAC access control lists, and reduction in transmission power are all more “feel good” security rather than real security. All these various approaches are dated and mistakenly lead to overconfidence.

They’re like putting a brown paper bag over your wireless router to “secure it”, it may make you feel better, but adds no security whatsoever.

WPA is your friend if you value wireless security.

Photo source.

Wireless Network Tutorials

Apple have posted a nice couple of video tutorials on wireless networking and setting up a wireless network at home.

For seasoned techy geeks like myself who have been using wireless for the best part of a decade, we sometimes forget how magical and fantastical wireless is to people new to it.

“You mean I don’t need to connect any wires to connect to the internet!”

So nice and simple tutorials like these from Apple are useful and can set the groundwork for people to enter a wireless world.

Wireless basics

Setting up your wireless network