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Wireless Security At Home

By Dan Hadaway | Tuesday, October 19, 2010 - Leave a Comment

The following is a “Vigilize Post” and is intended to be used in your next e-mail security awareness reminder.   Please see “intended use” at the bottom of the post.

For those of you with wireless networks, this video (by mindfulsecurity.com) summarizes what you need to learn and do in order to protect yourself.

There are other videos on mindfulsecurity.com that I encourage you to check out their other videos.

By the way, if you can figure out how to implement MAC filtering on your wireless router, you are substantially strengthening the security of your home network because you will have “two factor authentication.”  Your wireless router has a feature called “Filter by MAC address.”  Enable this feature, and then enter the MAC address for all legitimate computers (and printers and smart phones, etc.) on your network.   To find the MAC address on your Windows computers: choose start, then run, then type cmd and hit enter. Type “ipconfig /all” and hit enter.  You’re looking for the “physical address” of your “Wireless LAN Adapter” and the address will be six pairs of numbers and/or letters, like: “00:20:14:e2:a7:11.”

Your iPhone, Droid or other smart phone will have a MAC address (sometimes called media access control address) in the settings menu.  For the Droid, it’s in “About Phone, Status.”  For the iPhone, it’s in “Settings, General, About.”

MAC Filtering is “two factor authentication” because in order to connect to your network, a user needs to know the network SSID and password, and have the physical address of the computers entered into the MAC filter table of your wireless router.  It’s very similar to your ATM card . . . you know the pin and have the card.

Like any security control, MAC filtering is not foolproof . . . . bad guys CAN spoof your MAC address.  But the likelihood of somebody from halfway around the world knowing or guessing your MAC address is extremely small, and thus the security value of MAC filtering.  Remember though, the way they can learn your MAC address is through social engineering!  But that’s the topic of another information security reminder!

I hope these reminders are helping you.  Let me know if you have any questions, or suggestions for other reminders!

Intended Use:

The purpose of Vigilize is to respond to ISOs’ complaints that users never read ISO’s “ongoing security awareness training reminders.”  Our tweets are designed to be copied into the subject line of your awareness reminder, with the language on these pages put into the body.  The goal is that the user will have to read the subject line to know to delete the message, and if they understand the subject line the reminder is communicated.  If not, they will go into the message and read the reminder.

Feel free to use Vigilize in your own Security Awareness Program.  Let us know if you have any ideas, suggested tweets, or ways to improve this FREE service.

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