Protect Your Network From Identity Theft Now!

It is deniable that our works and lives are more convenient and easier when using wireless. We can work anywhere and that is why wireless networks are becoming so popular. Especially if you have broadband Internet access, a wireless router can give you instant communication with the world.

Imagine you are sitting by the pool and enjoying chatting through the Internet. Or lounging in the Jacuzzi listening to your MP3 collection is appealing to us all. Unfortunately, many, or even most, wireless units don’t come with security features already functioning. This may not seem like a big issue to someone who is simply setting up a home network, but there are a number of potential problems you should consider.

Identity theft seems to be the most serious problem. If your network is unsecured, the personal data on your wireless electronic equipment is also unsecured. The order you just placed for a book at Amazon may have given your contact and payment information to an unscrupulous hacker! Nearly every town in which “WiFi” is common will have “War Drivers” and “War Chalkers” at work. These are people who walk or drive around town with wireless equipment, searching for unsecured networks. The “Chalkers” then live up their name, marking curbs and other public items with chalk so that others can more easily find and exploit your network.

In fact, not all “War Drivers” are hackers, of course. Many just want to use your network for free, but the risk is high if you don’t learn how to protect yourself. You can usually find quite a bit of free information as to how to secure your network at the website of your router’s manufacturer, or by doing a search in a search engine for a phrase like “secure home wireless.”

In addition, there are also your neighbors who may find your network by accident and enjoy nosing into your activities and using your Internet access at will, slowing down your network speed in the process.

Even many businesses use cheap, home-use quality equipment for their company networks. With the poor security often found on small business networks, anyone with a basic knowledge of wireless can access sensitive company and customer data.

It is highly recommended that you hire service companies to secure your network for you, or else you will have to bear with a risk of being exploited. A search of your local yellow pages or an inquiry at your neighborhood computer store should yield professional help and get your private data private again.

Personal Wireless with Bluetooth

If you already have a wireless network for your computers, you may be very interested in what’s coming next. Would you like it if your PDA, your mobile phone, your mp3 player and almost everything else you connect to your computer could be wireless too? It’s already a reality…

Personal Area Network.

Using wireless networking with your personal gadgets is often called PAN, which stands for Personal Area Network. The idea is that, in the future, we’ll all have laptop computers with their batteries charged and no more need to connect any wires to them at all — you just place your Bluetooth device near the computer, and the computer sees it and can use it straightaway.

Bluetooth has been around and in-use since 1999, and it’s only getting more popular. It was designed to be secure, low cost, and easy to use from day one.

There are two classes of Bluetooth that are in popular use: class 1 and class 2. Class 2 is the most common and cheaper standard, allowing you to use a device that is up to 10 metres (32 feet) away. Class 1 is rarer, but you can still find devices that use it easily enough, and it has ten times the range: 100 metres or 320 feet.

How Does It Work?

Bluetooth is more flexible than 802.11 wireless networking, in exchange for the shorter range. Essentially, a Bluetooth-enabled computer has one Bluetooth receiver installed in it, and this receiver can then be used with up to 7 nearby Bluetooth devices. On the other end, wireless devices do not need to have Bluetooth installed if they support it — it is already integrated.

Like 802.11, Bluetooth works by using radio signals to create bandwidth. It is not, though, the same thing as an old-style wireless mouse or keyboard, which required a receiver to be plugged into one of your computers’ ports, and didn’t have range or stability anywhere near that of Bluetooth.

Many computers now come with built in Bluetooth, especially Apple Macs. If you want to add Bluetooth to a computer that doesn’t come with it pre-installed, you should probably use a USB to Bluetooth adapter, although internal Bluetooth devices to install in your computer are available. If you have a laptop and a spare PCMCIA slot, you can get Bluetooth cards for that too.

What Can You Do With Bluetooth?

Mobile phones with Bluetooth are very popular, and so are PDAs — the instant synchronisation of addresses and calendars to a computer is a useful feature. Other than that, almost anything that would usually use USB can be done using Bluetooth, including digital cameras, mp3 players, printers, and even mice and keyboards. If you take a look through the comprehensive list of Bluetooth ‘profiles’ (kinds of devices that could, in theory, be Bluetooth enabled), it includes cordless phones, faxes, headsets, and even video.

Basically, more than anything, Bluetooth is a replacement for USB: some say that while 802.11 wireless networking is wireless Ethernet, Bluetooth is wireless USB.

Not Just for Computers.

Part of the power of Bluetooth is that it isn’t just used to connect things to computers — it can be used to connect almost anything to anything else, if both things are Bluetooth-enabled and recognise each other.

Mobile phones, in particular, take advantage of this. Hands-free headsets often use Bluetooth to communicate with the phone. Some cars, for example, now have on-board computers that will connect with a Bluetooth phone and allow you to make hands-free calls, regardless of where the phone is in the car (even if you’ve left it in your bag in the trunk!)

On top of that, of course, Bluetooth devices can communicate with each other. This has led to some people sending messages from their Bluetooth PDAs to others in close range — not an especially useful feature, but quite fun. This is called ‘bluejacking’, and the first recorded instance of it was a man who sent a Bluetooth message to another man’s Nokia phone while they were in a bank together. What did the message say? ‘Buy Ericsson’.

Since then, it has become possible to send images by bluejacking, and it is widely believed to be the newest advertising medium — yes, it lets billboards send messages to your phone, a practice known as ‘bluecasting’. Whether you think that’s cool or annoying, of course, is your choice.

Peltier Associates Breaking and Fixing Wireless Security

To the information security professional wireless networking may be thought of as a four letter word to be avoided at all costs. Regardless of the security implication wireless networking can provide cost efficiency, and because of that wireless technologies are here to stay. While many in the profession believe that wireless networks can be easily compromised, this class will show how the appropriate wireless architecture with the proper security controls can make your wireless network as secure as any other remote access point into your network.

In this three day, wireless security workshop, we will examine the cutting edge of wireless technologies. The purpose of the course is to give you a full understanding of what wireless (802.11) networks are, how they work, how people find them and exploit them, and how they can be secured. This hands-on course is based on real world examples, solutions, and deployments. In this course we will actually set up and use wireless networks, determine the tools to uncover wireless networks, and also look at how to defeat the attempts to secure wireless networks.

Course Completion
Upon the completion of our CISM course, students will have:

Constructed a wireless network architecture
Install and configure 802.1x authentication using Microsoft Windows IAS and Server 2000
Install a wireless access point
Distinguish between 802.11x standards
Defeat Wired Equivalent Privacy
Key Take Aways:

An understanding of wireless networks
A CD of common tools and documentation
An ability to search the internet for updates and more information on wireless networks
Detail of Course Content The following topics will be covered:

Wireless History
Radio Frequency (RF) Fundamentals
WLAN Infrastructure
802.11 Network Architecture
802.1X Authentication
Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP)/(LEAP)/(PEAP)
Detection Platforms
WLAN Discovery Tools
Wireless Sniffers
Conventional Detection
Exploiting WLANs
Securing WLANs
Other Wireless Options
Legal Issues including GLBA and ISO-17799

Password Unification

“Just because you’re big doesn’t mean you have to be dumb.”

First let me point out I’m one of those life-long students. Not because if love college, but because I can never make up my mind on what I want to do. After making some big life changes I decided to take a full year away from school. Yesterday I attempted to register for this coming spring semester to get back on track. Interestingly enough my account has been disabled… sort of… This is where the fun starts.

I expected my account to be disabled, that isn’t the issue here. The problem is how it was disabled, and the messages which I received back from the University. First my account still worked to access class registration, and the University portal but my E-Mail had been completely locked out. This is the main point of my concern. If the university had a unified technology structure the login / password information would be centralized. An account disabled one place should be disabled across campus. Instead some departments disabled my account, and other left it running while I was gone. Worst some parts of the university left it partially running, but unusable.

Strange isn’t it? Why not completely disable my account rather then just PRETEND it works only to give me a nasty permissions error when I attempt to USE the portal which I am already logged into.

Rule #1

“Never let the user see the nasty error.”

Building an application or networked system on any level requires more then just getting the job done. A developer should take the additional time to build functionality for the unexpected. In my case there should have been two things.

A friendly message explaining why my account was disabled and directions on how to re-enable my account.

Rule #2

“Avoid the circle of death; take personal responsibility for the problem.”

First I talked to my counselor who said I should talk to computer services. Computer services told me to talk to the registration office. The registration office told me to talk to my counselor. FAIL, never ending loops are bad, not just in programming but in the real world.

This could have been avoided at each step, but instead the problem was passed onto someone else. All someone had to do was research the problem, and they would have known the problem has come up in the past. The eventually solution was to force someone to register my classes over the phone rather then using my account on the Internet.

Rule #3

“Record problems and make proactive steps to resolve known issues.”

I work in IT and I know how incredibility complicated things can get. But it’s important to always take steps to prevent the situation from coming up again. I am sure that I am not the first person to have their account disabled, and because no one is following rule three; I will likely not be the last. A few simple changes to the application would easily fix the problem, but no one cares enough to do anything about it. This means me, THE CUSTOMER, THE STUDENT, THE IDOIT, to run around trying to convenience people to do their job.

Thanks for the warm welcome back akron,

Why And When You Should Raise Your Prices

Have you been thinking about raising your prices but you are not sure if you should? Well I’m here to tell you that you should.

So lets start with why? Because you want to raise your prices so you will always have room for new clients!

If you’re booked solid with regular clients, you will never have room for new clients, which is what keeps us creative. Being content with those same ole people every day will eventually end you up stuck in a rut and behind the times.

So when is it time you ask? When your books are to the point you are turning away new clients. It’s a lot easier to get someone who has never came to you to pay your new prices then your old clients to pay more than they are used to.

As you raise your prices you will start to notice a change in your clientele. The higher your prices go, the more respect you will get from your clients and your new clients will be from a different income level.

Let’s say you used to do a lot of college students or stay at home moms and over the last few price increases you have noticed you are now doing a lot of corporate or management level people and business owners.

For example, if you raise your prices only 20% and you loose 10%, what just happened? You have increased your available time by 10% and you are still making 10% more money.

You have to have the mindset that loosing a few clients is worth gaining high-end clients to replace the ones you may loose. This is a tradeoff that is well worth your time and efforts.

So, don’t be afraid of loosing those few clients and focus on gaining better clients and making more money in the long run.

Thanks for reading and get more great business tips at my website.

Router – Transmitting Packets

In a previous article we discussed the basics of what a router did.  We’re now going to get into a more detailed, and yes technical, explanation of how packets are transmitted as well as a few other tech specs of how routers work.  So put on your learning caps because you’re in for a real mind bender.

Internet data, whether it be in the form of a web page, a downloaded file or an email message, travels over what is called a packet switching network.  Basically what happens is that the data is broken up into individual packets because there is only so much data that can be transmitted at one time.  Each packet is about 1500 bytes long.  Each packet contains quite a bit of information including the sender’s address, the receiver’s address and of course the information being sent which includes the order of each packet how it should be put back together so that the end user can make sense of the data.  The packet is sent off to its destination based on what the router believes to be the best route to follow, which is usually the route with the least amount of traffic and if possible, the shortest route.  Each packet may actually given a different route depending on conditions at the time, which in a high traffic network can change every second.  By doing this, the router can balance the load across the network so that no one segment gets overloaded.  Also, if there is a problem with one piece of equipment in the network, the router can bypass this piece of equipment and send the packet along another route.  This way if there is a problem, the entire message will still arrive intact.

In conducting this process, routers have to speak to each other.  They tell each other about any problems on the network and make recommendations on routes to take.  This way, paths can be reconfigured if they have to be.  However, not all routers do all jobs as routers come in different sizes and have different functions.

There are what we call simple routers.  A simple router is usually used in a simple small network.  Simple routers simply look to see where the data packet needs to go and sends it there.  It doesn’t do much else.

Slightly larger routers, which are used for slightly larger networks, do a little bit more.  These routers will also enforce security for the network, protecting the network from outside attacks.  They are able to do a good enough job of this that additional security software is not needed.

The largest routers are used to handle data at major points on the Internet.  These routers handle millions of packets of information per second.  They work very hard to configure the network as efficiently as possible.  These are stand alone systems and actually have more in common with supercomputers than with a simple server one might have in a small office.

In our next instalment we’ll look at how to actually trace the path that a message has taken and some examples of transmitting packets.

Router – Tracing Your Packets

Few people will really care about the path that your packet takes when sending a message, but if you’re one of those high tech egg heads then this article may be of great interest to you.  It can become very addictive so proceed with caution.

If you’re using a Microsoft Windows based operation system, then it’s very easy to trace the route that your message has taken.  Not only that, you can see exactly how many routers it took to get your message from point A to point B.  You can do this by using a program that is on your computer called Traceroute.  That is exactly what the program does.  It traces the route a message takes to get to its final destination.

To run the program you have to go to a DOS prompt.  After doing this, go to the C:\windows directory and type tracert followed by the URL of the Internet site you’re connected to at the time.  It will give you a rather technical spec sheet of every IP address it stopped at along the way until it got to its final destination.

The first number on the spec sheet tells you how many routers it went through to get to its final destination.  Then each individual router listed on the page is numbered from 1 down to the last one which is actually the final destination.  The next 3 numbers on each line for each router shows how long the packet took to get to that router.  The next piece of information on each line is the actual name of the router the information went through.  Yes, routers have names.  This may be important to the users but is totally irrelevant to the router itself.  Finally, the last piece of info on each line is the actual IP address of the router itself.

The amount of time it takes information to get from one router to another varies depending on how much traffic there is on that route at the time.  Normally, it is no more than a couple of seconds.  But occasionally, it can be longer.  That is why sometimes you will be trying to access a web site and it seems to take forever.  This can be for a number of reasons, but usually it is because along the way one of the routers is not working correctly and has to be bypassed.  Sometimes the actual final location itself is down or having problems and the delay is the last router in the chain trying to connect to the network.

Traceroute is not limited to just checking the number of routers between you and an Internet site.  You can use it to check the number of routers between you and any other computer on a network.  As long as you know the IP address of the other computer you can trace the route of the packets between you and the other computer.

In our next instalment we’re going to look at how routers handle denial of service attacks and other problems.