Another thing I did while at home was secure my family’s wireless router, a D-Link DI-514. Before Sunday, it was wide open and anyone could use it. While I checked the (limited) logs on the router to see if anyone outside the house was using it and didn’t find anyone, I was still getting paranoid about it (especially with the amount of online shopping on Amazon and eBay that my parents do on their laptop).
So I changed that. Upgraded to the latest router firmware.I changed the default router password, enabled MAC filtering (interestingly, unlike other wireless routers it enables this for wired LAN connections as well, found out the hard way), and enabled 128-bit WEP encryption (with a WEP key generated by this cool site). With the massive improvements in wireless networking with Windows XP SP2, I was able to get the network up and fully functional again very quickly and painlessly.
After the firmware upgrade, I even noticed a slight boost in the range and stability of the wireless router. I hated this DI-514 router when my parents first bought it, but it is working pretty well now.
While I know both WEP encryption and MAC filtering are not that great when it comes to security, used together they eliminate 99.9% of any protential problems as few people actually bother to try and hack into a wireless network in a 2,500 person town. I can also sleep at night not worrying about my wireless network (using WPA encryption on a Linksys router) or their’s.
My grandparent’s house is probably next on the list to get it’s wireless security improved.