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Aline

join:2006-01-21
Ottawa, ON

SSID - Should I Enable or Disable??

Hi All,

Newbie and first time posting.

I'm confused as to whether I should enable or disable my SSID broadcasting on a wireless laptop.

Background
I have a Linksys Wireless Access Point Router. It is WEP enable using 128b encryption. I'm trying to properly configure my daughter's wireless laptop, but it's flaky. One minute she can browse, and the next, the connection drops.

I added the WEP key on her laptop, and I have her MAC address configured on my router. When I broadcast the SSID, the laptop sees the connection. When I disable it, sometimes it continues working, and sometimes the connection drops and I no longer see it in the Available connection.

My question: if I broadcast my SSID, does that make me vulnerable even if I have WEP enable, or is it safe to do so?

Thank you in advance.
Aline


No_Strings
Premium,MVM,Ex-Mod 2008-13
join:2001-11-22
The OC
kudos:6
The SSID is still being broadcast, even if you "disable" it, simply under different circumstances. Disabling SSID broadcast can cause connectivity problems with some setups. It provides no security. You will still be visible and equally vulnerable.

WEP is far less of a defense than it used to be. Readily available tools can expose your key quickly. Use WPA if your equipment supports it and have a look at the forum FAQ for more details.


SoonerAl
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-23
South Padre Island, TX
kudos:5
reply to Aline
You might be interested in this write up concerning this issue...

»Wireless Networking Forum FAQ »What happens when I disable SSID Broadcast? Am I more secure?

FWIW here is my general guidance...

»Re: Wireless problem-
--
"When all else fails, read the instructions..."


Anav
Sarcastic Llama? Naw, Just Acerbic
Premium
join:2001-07-16
Dartmouth, NS
kudos:5

1 edit
reply to Aline
Enable - dont forget to change your router password from default with a minimum 8 random character (u/l case, digits, symbols) password.


janderso1
Jim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-15
Saint Petersburg, FL
reply to Aline
Enable SSID broadcast. If your equipment supports it enable WPA with at least a 25 character strong key. If your equipment doesn’t support WPA, seriously consider upgrading to equipment that supports WPA.
--
Jim Anderson


Aline

join:2006-01-21
Ottawa, ON

1 edit
reply to Aline
Thank you both for such a quick reply. I will certainly look at the WAP option.

Aline


Aline

join:2006-01-21
Ottawa, ON

1 edit
reply to Aline

Re: SSID - Should I Enable or Disable?? So sorry.

OMG, I just re-read my last post and noticed a typo...

It should have read: *such* a quick reply, and not suck

Again, so sorry


janderso1
Jim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-15
Saint Petersburg, FL
reply to Aline

Re: SSID - Should I Enable or Disable??

You can edit your prior post if youn would like to.
--
Jim Anderson


Aline

join:2006-01-21
Ottawa, ON
Phew... I did. Thank you


Aline

join:2006-01-21
Ottawa, ON
reply to janderso1
I just looked at my Linksys config page and see nothing about WAP. Guess that means my hardware does not support it.

Do you have any recommendations as to the type/brand of hardware I should purchase?

TIA,
Aline


No_Strings
Premium,MVM,Ex-Mod 2008-13
join:2001-11-22
The OC
kudos:6
What model is the router?
What O/S and wireless card is the laptop using?


janderso1
Jim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-15
Saint Petersburg, FL
reply to Aline
How fast is your Internet connection? Do you use P2P software? What model is the Linksys (you may be able to download newer firmware that supports WPA)?
--
Jim Anderson


Aline

join:2006-01-21
Ottawa, ON
reply to No_Strings
My router is a Linksys Wireless Access Point with 4 ports - Model BEFW11S4 (2.4 GHz, 802.11b)

Basically, I have 1 desktop, and 2 laptops. Their configurations are as follow:

Desktop
O/S = XP Pro
NIC = SiS 900-Based PCI Fast Ethernet Adapter

Laptop 1 (make is LG)- wireless
O/S = XP Pro
NIC = Intel (R) PRO/Wireless 2200BG

Laptop 2 (make is Sony VAIO)
O/S = XP Home Edition
NIC = Realtex RTL8139/810x Family Fast Ethernet NIC

I also have a Linksys Wireless USB Network Adapter (WUSB11 ver 2.6) that I would like to use with laptop 2 (Sony).

I had also previously purchased a Linksys Instant Wireless-G Notebook Adapter (WPC54G), which never really worked properly with laptop 2.

If you need more info, I'd be happy to provide it to you.

Thank you,
Aline


Aline

join:2006-01-21
Ottawa, ON
reply to janderso1
I connect through cable.

My Linksys router firmware is version 1.45.10, Apr 15, 2004. I also see something else that says: BEFW11S4 V2.1.

Am I having to ditch everything I have and start anew?

TIA
Aline


Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1

1 edit
reply to No_Strings
said by No_Strings:

The SSID is still being broadcast, even if you "disable" it, simply under different circumstances. Disabling SSID broadcast can cause connectivity problems with some setups. It provides no security. You will still be visible and equally vulnerable.

WEP is far less of a defense than it used to be. Readily available tools can expose your key quickly. Use WPA if your equipment supports it and have a look at the forum FAQ for more details.
That's odd, my router, WRT54G has a "Wireless SSID Broadcast : Enable Disable". It doesn't broadcast when it's disabled. And any router I have come across with it disabled it's not visible.


janderso1
Jim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-15
Saint Petersburg, FL
reply to Aline
Look on the bottom for the router version number. If yours is a version two there is newer firmware.
»www.linksys.com/servlet/Satellit···rWrapper
--
Jim Anderson


Bill
Premium,VIP
join:2001-12-09
reply to Cheese
said by Cheese:

That's odd, my router, WRT54G has a "Wireless SSID Broadcast : Enable Disable". It doesn't broadcast when it's disabled. And any router I have come across with it disabled it's not visible.
What are you scanning with? I think you need a "passive scanner" in order to see the "disabled broadcast" devices. A popular "passive scanner" is Kismet, which I believe, only works in Linux/BSD.


Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1

1 edit
said by Bill:

said by Cheese:

That's odd, my router, WRT54G has a "Wireless SSID Broadcast : Enable Disable". It doesn't broadcast when it's disabled. And any router I have come across with it disabled it's not visible.
What are you scanning with? I think you need a "passive scanner" in order to see the "disabled broadcast" devices. A popular "passive scanner" is Kismet, which I believe, only works in Linux/BSD.
My notebook doesn't see it, my PSP doesn't see it. I have to manually enter it in anytime a wireless device is in range. Let's put it this way, the average user won't see a disabled broadcast.


Aline

join:2006-01-21
Ottawa, ON
reply to janderso1
Jim

I went to that page before. Under 7/15/2005, it does say: Download firmware. When I did, all I got was a Word doc. Could they have forgotten to include the actual update?

The one under (April 04)is the same version as what I currently have.

Aline


janderso1
Jim
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-15
Saint Petersburg, FL
I tried downloading it and also only got a document. I would call Linksys support and tell them the download page is broken.
--
Jim Anderson


Anav
Sarcastic Llama? Naw, Just Acerbic
Premium
join:2001-07-16
Dartmouth, NS
kudos:5
reply to Cheese
I'd say your cheese smells bad, suggest its full of holes too.


Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1
said by Anav:

I'd say your cheese smells bad, suggest its full of holes too.
... yea, um, ok.


Nerdtalker
Working Hard, Or Hardly Working?
Premium,MVM
join:2003-02-18
Tucson, AZ
reply to Cheese
said by Cheese:

That's odd, my router, WRT54G has a "Wireless SSID Broadcast : Enable Disable". It doesn't broadcast when it's disabled. And any router I have come across with it disabled it's not visible.
It doesn't actually "broadcast" the SSID per-se.

What happens is that active site auditing tools like NetStumbler broadcast, asking APs with an SSID of "ANY" to respond. There is a small population of APs that do respond to "ANY", despite having SSID broadcasts turned off.

However, it's all really irrelevant. Passive site auditing tools like kismet can pull the SSID "out of the air" by inspecting wireless packets. Broadcasts on or off, somebody can find your AP, and get its name if they really want to.
--
"Some people never see the light till it shines thru bullet holes." -Bruce Cockburn

I'm testing Gmail's spam filters: Broadbandreports1@gmail.com
Spam: 12900+ messages currently using 406 MB.


Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1
said by Nerdtalker:

said by Cheese:

That's odd, my router, WRT54G has a "Wireless SSID Broadcast : Enable Disable". It doesn't broadcast when it's disabled. And any router I have come across with it disabled it's not visible.
It doesn't actually "broadcast" the SSID per-se.

What happens is that active site auditing tools like NetStumbler broadcast, asking APs with an SSID of "ANY" to respond. There is a small population of APs that do respond to "ANY", despite having SSID broadcasts turned off.

However, it's all really irrelevant. Passive site auditing tools like kismet can pull the SSID "out of the air" by inspecting wireless packets. Broadcasts on or off, somebody can find your AP, and get its name if they really want to.
And as I said in previous post, the average user is NOT going to know how to do this or even bother with it.


koolman2
Premium
join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK

1 edit
reply to Cheese
With the SSID disabled, it still broadcasts it whenever a computer associates or tries to associate with the router, along with a variety of other times. Disabling is only stopping the casual NetStumbler user from connecting, but nobody else who knows what they're doing.
--
"I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult." -Rita Rudner


koolman2
Premium
join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK
reply to Cheese
said by Cheese:

And as I said in previous post, the average user is NOT going to know how to do this or even bother with it.
Then again, the average hacker isn't going to care that your SSID is disabled.
--
"I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult." -Rita Rudner


Cheese
Premium
join:2003-10-26
Naples, FL
kudos:1
reply to koolman2
said by koolman2:

With the SSID disabled, it still broadcasts it whenever a computer associates or tries to associate with the router, along with a variety of other times. Disabling is only stopping the casual NetStumbler user from connecting, but nobody else who knows what they're doing.
Again, that's funny, I had a buddy who had his disabled, we couldn't figure out why my notebook wouldn't see it until we found out the SSID was disabled.


koolman2
Premium
join:2002-10-01
Anchorage, AK

1 edit
Scanners like NetStumbler and Windows' client won't pick up the SSID in those cases...


a

@qwest.net
reply to Aline
gosh, if one way doesn't work then maybe the other way will...


Aline

join:2006-01-21
Ottawa, ON
reply to janderso1
Just sent Linksys an e-mail about the missing firmware upgrade. In the meantime, I'll sit tight and will most likely come back for more answers from you gurus )

Thank you,
Aline