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Wired and Wireless Routers, Which are more secure

(18 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by hc6700
  • Latest reply from ScottW
  • Topic Viewed 7366 times

hc6700
Posts: 7

I have a small home network with a Desktop PC and a Wireless Laptop. I have a Linksys Cable Modem and a Linksys WRT150N Wireless Router. My desktop is hard wired to the router and I had been connecting wirelessly with my laptop. I live in a large apartment complex and have been targeted by someone who is trying to hack into my router. I now hard wire my laptop connection.
My question: Since I'm now using a wired connection with both my desktop and laptop (via my wireless router) would a wired router give me more security. Or once I'm hard wired to a router, does it give me the same amount of security regardless if it's wired or wireless.
Thanks
HC

Posted 6 years ago
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jd2066
jd2066
Posts: 3814

If you are hard wired to the router and it's wireless is disabled then it's exactly the same as a wired router.
Though you could also just use the wireless and set up encryption with WPA and use an 8-16 chacter password to be more secure.

Posted 6 years ago
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hc6700
Posts: 7

Thanks for the quick reply JD. I've disabled my wireless network connections (including bluetooth) in Device Manager on my laptop. Do I have to do anything else with the wireless router. If I have to disable wireless in the router itself, how do I do that?

Also, for some reason, I'm using WPA but it won't accept more than 8 characters.

HC

Posted 6 years ago
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jd2066
jd2066
Posts: 3814

The steps to disable the router's wireless vary depending on the router. What router do you have?

Edit: I now see you listed it already in the first post.

Posted 6 years ago
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InDiSent
InDiSent
Posts: 1084

Here is a link to the product page for that router, click on the user guide link.

http://www.linksys.com/servlet.....5233984378

I haven't used a Linksys in a while, but i think it the routers setup screen you go to wireless and you can turn the wireless on or off from there. I wouldn't disable wireless if you like working form your laptop and not being tied to the router. Just read the manual and set WPA Encryption. You can even disable broadcast of your SSID. Your laptop would still connect to the router, but no one would know it's there.

Posted 6 years ago
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thegeek
The Geek
Posts: 2059

If you still have wireless enabled on the router, people can still get onto your network unless you secure your wireless connection. Once they have an IP address on your network, then it would be up to your desktop firewall to prevent them from doing more.

You might want to upgrade the firmware on your router... and you should be using WPA 2, which supports a much longer key. As far as I know, it's nearly impossible to break into a router with WPA 2 and a very long key. At the very least it would prevent most people from trying.

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
ScottW
Posts: 6609

HC, have you had enough advice yet? :-)
I have a Linksys router, too. There's no reason you should have to stop using wireless for your laptop, just make sure you have taken all necessary security precautions. First use WPA encryption. From the manual for your router, apparently they call this PSK-Personal. Use the longest, most cryptic WPA key you can live with. Try the password generator at grc.com to get a completely unguessable key:
https://www.grc.com/passwords.htm

I use a 63 character key from there. The reason this is secure is that the only known attack on WPA security is a brute force attack on your password. Brute force means trying every possible combination and with a 63 character password, the number of combinations is so mind-numbingly big that even a computer couldn't try them all in our lifetimes.

Posted 6 years ago
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hc6700
Posts: 7

Thanks folks for all of the support. My laptop is 5 years old, so it only supports WEP. Even if I set my new linksys wrt150n router for WPA2 AES, I'm only going to get WEP protection. So I've decided to keep my wireless router with wired connections. That leaves me with being able to set a Administrative Password. I've got that set to a 20 digit password. Hopefully that will be enough.
Any other ideas would be appreciated.

As added precaution, I set up my computers so that you have to hit Ctrl-Alt-Del in order to enter the XP password. I've been told that even if someone hacks into my router, they won't be able to get onto my desktop or get any info. They need physical access to my desktop in order to press Ctrl/Alt/Del.
I've also set up a Bios Password. That could be difficult to bypass even if someone had access to my computer. I've been told that can be bypassed by pulling out the CMOS battery. That' possible on the desktop but very difficult on the laptop.
HC

Posted 6 years ago
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thegeek
The Geek
Posts: 2059

You can install the WPA support package for XP,

http://www.microsoft.com/downl.....laylang=en

Details about it: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/893357

Alternatively you can often find the support packages for the manufacturer's drivers.

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
ScottW
Posts: 6609

HC, you should definitely stay wired if WEP is the only other choice. As you may already know, WEP "protection" is no protection at all. The WEP protocol is flawed and can be cracked in most cases in around 60 seconds:
http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/new.....hp/3670601

Hopefully, you can get WPA which is not flawed.

Posted 6 years ago
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hc6700
Posts: 7

Thanks guys. Geek, I didn't know you could install a WPA support package for XP. Security is just a whole other field of knowledge. I always thought that WEP, WPA had to do with the wireless card you have in your laptop and the router you use. There is so much I don't know about security issues.
My laptop is real out of date. I was waiting for Penryn to come out to buy a new one but now most companies are forcing you to use Vista by not offering an XP alternative, even Asus. Sony right now is the only company (I've found) selling penryn laptops that is offering a downgrade to XP and only in certain of it's models. I've always been hesitant to buy from Sony, but I may have to go with one of their new SZ models.

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
ScottW
Posts: 6609

Windows XP is going end-of-life at the end of this month, 30 June 2008. That means no more copies will be made and support will be limited. There are some exceptions, but they are limited.

HC, do you have some particular objection to Vista? I was a bit hesitant, too, but Vista is stable and functional. There's lots of information around the net about how to set it up and customize it. And if you have a question, you can ask here.

Posted 6 years ago
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thegeek
The Geek
Posts: 2059

I would not buy a Sony laptop... I've never known anybody that had good luck with them =) The best laptops are usually Lenovo/IBM, in my experience... they are just expensive. For the last 7 years I've used HP laptops from work with decent luck, other than the overheating problems.

I think MS is still going to ship XP on low-end computers until 2010: http://www.nytimes.com/idg/IDG.....38;emc=rss

Vista is a great operating system... sure, there are some issues that haven't been resolved, but for the most part it's well worth using. I'd never use anything else as my primary OS.

Posted 6 years ago
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Aleeve
Aleeve
Posts: 2818

I love Vista
only problems i have had with it were usb mouse problems with the first version of sp1
now is fine :D (apart form no laptop atm :(

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
ScottW
Posts: 6609

In my experience, all laptops are fragile. In a previous workplace, we had lots of IBM laptops (pre-Lenovo) and they broke down all the time. Take a look at laptop repair history from Consumer Reports:
http://www.pc-repairs4you.com/19.html

The lowest number is 20%, so 1 in 5 laptops will need repair or have serious issues. Also, the gap between the best and worst is very small, 20-23%. My wife's Dell laptop is almost 3 years old and has had no trouble, but office use is more stressful than home use.

Microsoft pretty much has to make an exception to allow XP on low-end systems. Such systems don't have the processing power or memory needed to run Vista properly.

Posted 6 years ago
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hc6700
Posts: 7

My hesitency with Vista is for the usual reasons, how slow it is, compatibility issues with 3 party apps, etc. I haven't heard too many complaints about stability. In the last week I've read alot about MS starting to move to Windows 7. Alot of folks out there, more knowledgeable then I, think that Vista will go the way of windows 2K. But who knows. I just have been real pleased with XP and don't want to change unless there is a positive reason to do so. For a laptop, I just feel better about sticking with XP. If I build a new desktop (which I probably will in the next 6 months) I'll probably give Vista a try in a dual boot setup. But I've heard that setting up an XP/Vista dual boot can be a circus.

Also, I spoke with HP, IBM and some other brands and no one has a laptop that comes with XP and Penryn together. The only two that do are Sony and Dell. I have a Dell now and I haven't been real pleased with it. I also gave up a Michael Dell when he led the way to outsourcing, firing thousands of US workers and giving their jobs to people in other countries. So much greed.

I would have gone with Asus, but they also don't have any laptops with XP.
HC

Posted 6 years ago
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hc6700
Posts: 7

I just priced a Lenovo R61 laptop. Penryn (9300) 160HDD, dedicated video card, 2GBs Ram, DVD DL drive, and XP. 14". It would run about $1100. Not bad. Their T61 with the same components would be a lb lighter and about $150 more. I think I may take the plunge. Wireless N too.

No idea how good their tech support is, but I do most of my work on my PCs, with a little help from forums like this one.

HC

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
ScottW
Posts: 6609

Reading through this thread has got me thinking. If Dell deserves to be censured for outsourcing, shouldn't IBM be censured as well for selling their entire PC line to Lenovo? Since this is way off topic, I'm starting a new thread in the OT to continue the discussion for anyone who wishes to follow along:
http://www.howtogeek.com/forum.....rate-greed

Posted 6 years ago
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