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New Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-15-2004

are my neighbors using my wireless connection

I'm using a linksys router on home home wireless network to connect 3 computers to the net. When I look at the connections on the router I see 3 mac addresses for my 3 computers and a 4th one I cna't identify. Does this mean someone is connecting to the web via my router or is someone actually hacking into my computer?
Networking Expert
Baric
Posts: 24,238
Registered: ‎07-28-2003

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

Someone is piggybacking on your wireless router. Unless you took steps to secure your wireless access point, you're wide open to hacking, war chalking, and general misuse by anyone in your immediate vicinity.

Lesson here: Secure your wireless network or you will be sorry. Tirn off broadcasting, change the SSID, turn on MAC filtering, and turn on WPA.
New Visitor
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-15-2004

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

Thanks for the advice Baric. I can se how o turn off broadcasting and change the SSID. Can you tell me how to use Mac filtering and turning on the WPA? Will I have to make any changes to the other two computers on my network as well?
Thanks again. I appreciate the good advice.
Networking Expert
Baric
Posts: 24,238
Registered: ‎07-28-2003

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

MAC filtering is relatively simple. Somewhere in your router's setup there is a place to allow or deny certain MAC address (where it is and what it's called varies from router to router). What you do is select the option to ONLY allow listed MAC addresses, and provide the MAC address of YOUR mobile adapters. Anyone else who attempts to connect will be refused.

WEP/WPA is a little more complicated. First off, make sure you have downloaded the XP upgrade for, and that your adapter driver is the very latest available (it must support WPA). In your router's wireless setup, you turn on security and select WPA with either TKIP or AES. You enter a key value into the provided field. You then go to your client setup and configure the selected network to be WPA-PSK (WPA with preshared key). Select TKIP or AES to match your router setting, and provide the exact same key value you entered into the router. If you are not using XP, then the setup differs accordng to whatever the driver provides. I highly recommend getting to XP. And don't use WEP unless WPA won't work due to bad driver support. WEP is easily cracked.
Networking Expert
Baric
Posts: 24,238
Registered: ‎07-28-2003

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

And no, you should not have to make any changes to the other systems on your network unless they are wireless as well.
Regular Contributor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎01-16-2004

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

i dont think wep is that bad, especially for a home user. depending on how many computers are wireless in the network and how much data one sends on wireless. for a home user it would take months for a hacker to gather enough data to crack the encryption. on the otherhand if one was wardriving in a commercial area it could take as fast as a few minutes to crack wep, because the activity over network much more than at home.
Regular Problem Solver
Posts: 2,844
Registered: ‎11-02-2003

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

WEP is better than no security at all, but if your system will support it, IMHO, go with WPA. A hacker WILL grow very old trying to crack it.....;>)Notice I didn't say "impossible".....But there's a much better chance of being hit on the head by the Sun falling out of the sky....Youe noggin may "crack", but WPA (probably) won't!
Networking Expert
Baric
Posts: 24,238
Registered: ‎07-28-2003

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

Why would you choose WEP when you have WPA? WEP is easily crackable, WPA is much more secure. It's a no brainer. One is no harder to setup than the other.
New Visitor
Posts: 5
Registered: ‎03-03-2004

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

If the other computers are wireless than What?
Networking Expert
Baric
Posts: 24,238
Registered: ‎07-28-2003

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

That's what we're talking about here. What procedures to take to sure your wireless access is secure. So we're only talking about systems with wireless access.
Regular Contributor
Posts: 39
Registered: ‎01-16-2004

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

"if we agree then why are we arguing" - homer simpson

lol, dale and i never said that you should use wpa over wep. im just saying that wep isnt all that bad for a home user who isnt going to be sending too many packets over a wireless connection. of course if your system supports wpa, use wpa instead of wep.

but if you only have wep a good tip is to change the key often.
Regular Problem Solver
Posts: 2,844
Registered: ‎11-02-2003

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

....and, unfortunately, there are still a goodly number of routers and cards that DON'T support WPA; thus, you have no other choice than WEP. But, luckily, that's changing now.....
Dale
New Visitor
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎05-10-2004

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

I am also interested in protecting my connection from my neighbors, but I am not very familiar with how to do this. Can you please explain, hopefully in step-by-step fashion, on how to do this?

Thanks!
Regular Problem Solver
Posts: 2,844
Registered: ‎11-02-2003

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

If you want (or HAVE to, because your equipment doesn't support WPA) to use WEP, it's easy....Just follow the instructions for your router (under SECURITY) and ditto for your wireless card. Select WEP keys, make SURE they're the same for both the router and card, change the keys on a regular basis (maybe once a month), and you're good to go.....
WPA is a bit more involved. First, if you're using XP, you'll need to download a file from Microsoft's Knowledge Base (can't remember the KB #, do a Search on MS). Then check for any necessary update(s) for security on your router and wireless card...Not all cards/routers will support WPA, but that's changing quickly....Follow the setup procedure(s) in the README file that loads with any updated software! If given a choice, go with WPA....it's FAR more secure than WEP.....Good luck!
Most Valued Poster
DrDUH
Posts: 4,340
Registered: ‎03-18-2004

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

Uh, am I missing something; on my system, my wireless router has a MAC address for the 802.11 wireless port, and another for the 802.3 Ethernet port; that with seeing the three Mac Addresses of the 3 connected computers, plus the Mac address of the cable modem, and another for the ethernet connected print server, I'm dealing with 7 MAC addresses in my 3 computer network.

If I wanted to see if I had a piggybacker, I'd turn off the computers and unplug the printer server and see if the "wireless traffic" light on my router was blinking.
Networking Expert
Baric
Posts: 24,238
Registered: ‎07-28-2003

Re: are my neighbors using my wireless connection

MAC addresses are associated with each network interface, and since your router is the certran point of control, you can see the MAC's for most of your systems there. This is normal.

To see if you have anyone piggybacking, just look at your wireless function's list of connected MAC addresses. If anything is listed there that's not your's, you have a trsepasser. If your router is secure, you can pretty much ensure no one but you can access it.