In many instances hacking into a wireless network is pretty easy, so you need to make sure that your home/business wireless network is secure
Let me explain how easy it is and how you can protect yourself from your local neighborhood war driver.

The first thing you need to understand is a sport called wardriving which basically involves driving around in your car with a laptop or PDA scanning for WIFI hotspots This practice is not in itself illegal as you have not actually gained access to a WIFI network merely scanned for an AP ( access point ) which is broadcasting an SSID which is the name of your network that gets broadcasted by the AP.

Netstumbler is usually the war drivers program of choice as it gives a range of information about the AP, including SSID, GPS location of the node ( if you have a GPS device )and the MAC address of the AP.

Once the wardriver has this information its up to him what he does next. He could LEECH your internet connection and surf for FREE maybe download pornography, send spam through your connection or try to hack into your private files. Or drive off and find some more. Netstumbler will also log each AP so they can come back at will without getting lost! Remember it’s also difficult to tracks these attacks too, they could be quite a distance away and often will be bouncing their connection through an intermediate server such as a VPN or proxy. These are now relatively inexpensive and you can subscribe to one like this being used to watch the BBC iPlayer in Ireland.

So what can you do to prevent this from happening to you?

First of all TURN ON MAC FILTERING on your AP. This means that only MAC addresses YOU enter into the LIST can gain access to your AP. This by NO means secures your network, it just means that it becomes a little bit more difficult and the attacker needs to spend 5 more minutes and needs another two program’s to access your network!

First he would open up a WIFI Sniffer program such as Airopeek which sniffs the airwaves for packets of data and decodes them to give you MAC addresses on the network you are sniffing. So he now has a MAC address that is on the filter list.

He would then open up S.M.A.C a program that allows you to ‘ SPOOF ‘ ( change ) your MAC address to any other MAC address. Enter the MAC address of the one that he ‘ sniffed out ‘, and wait for that MAC address to log off the network. Then he can log on and do any of the above! What’s more it can seriously impact your network performance especially if they end up relaying Spam. Often you’ll find them using your connection to download or stream vide, perhaps to watch British TV abroad using your IP address as cover.

So what else do I need to do?

Next you need to turn on WEP which means any WIFI device that connects to your network needs a SECURE ENCRYPTED KEY to be secure choose the highest WEP you can and make yourself a KEY. This is does NOT secure your WIFI NETWORK as I’m sure you are waiting for me to say by now!

This does however make it a much more time consuming job trying to gain access to your WIFI network. The attacker would now need to open up a WEP cracking program such as KisMac. This will now depend on the amount of data flowing through your network as to how fast your WEP key can be cracked. This can take days, weeks or even months to crack but can be cracked!

Hopefully you are now aware that securing your WIFI NETWORK is very important and if you just grabbed your AP straight out of the box and plugged it in, now go and secure your network!