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    How secure is my Sky router

    This is a discussion on How secure is my Sky router within the Sky Router forums, part of the Sky Broadband help category; Hi, I recently joined Sky Broadband (base). My only complaint so far is the trouble I have accessing my emails ...

    1. #1
      Sharon B's Avatar
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      How secure is my Sky router

      Hi,

      I recently joined Sky Broadband (base). My only complaint so far is the trouble I have accessing my emails through my sky email address.

      I do have a question about my Sky router. Even though my laptop is wireless enabled, I am not interested in going wirelss because of my concerns about security. Do I still need to configure my Sky router to ensure it is secure or can I leave it as it is?

      I hope this question makes sense.

      Thank you.

      Sharon B


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    3. #2
      Lazarus's Avatar
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      Re: How secure is my Sky router

      You can always turn off wireless if you have no intention of using it. I've done the same with mine. You can do this in the router settings page.

      Enter 192.168.0.1 in to your web browser.

      In the sign in box, enter:

      Login = admin
      Password = sky (unless you have changed it)

      Go to: Wireless settings on the left-hand side of the router page

      Untick: Enable Wireless Access Point and Allow Broadcast of Name (SSID)

      Click: Apply

      Whike you are in there, you should consider changing your router password for increased security.
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    4. #3
      GaryM's Avatar
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      Re: How secure is my Sky router

      The Sky router by default is set up to use WPA encryption which is one of the highest security methods available. It would take a very determined hacker a very long time to break into a WPA encrypted router (weeks, months or maybe even years depending on the network key used). Compare that to WEP encryption which is very weak and can be cracked in as little as 5 minutes

      I wouldn't be particularly concerned about the security of a wireless connection running on WPA encryption although if you do decide to use it then I would probably advise you to change the "Network Key" to something longer than the 8 character one already programmed into the router by Sky (which is also shown on the little card you got with the router).

      To do this, log into the router (http://192.168.0.1/start.htm) and select the "Wireless Settings" option at the top of the left-hand menu. At the bottom of the page you will see a "WPA-PSK Security Encryption" section with a "Network Key (8 ~ 63 characters)" field in it. Change the network key to one of your choice and then click the Apply button. I recommend that you make the key as long and as meaningless as possible (lots of random looking numbers, letters and other characters). The longer you make it the harder it will be for anyone to crack and I would say that a 63 character key consisting of random numbers and letters would be near impossible to crack unless a hardcore hacker was prepared to camp up outside your house for many months or years with a laptop trying various bruteforce methods which is a very slow way of trying to get a password/key.

      However if you do decide that wireless isn't for you then rather than just switch off broadcasting of the SSID, I would actually disable the wireless completely (log onto the router, select the wireless settings option in the left-hand menu, untick the "Enable Wireless Access Point" option and then click the Apply button).

      HTH

    5. #4
      Sharon B's Avatar
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      Re: How secure is my Sky router

      Hi Lazarus & Gary M

      Thanks so much for your quick and helpful replies. I think I will disable wireless completely.

      Sharon B

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      Re: How secure is my Sky router

      Hmmm Gary your comments regarding WEP are very concerning for me, as my wife's lappy will not accept WPA.

      Ted

    7. #6
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      Re: How secure is my Sky router

      I think it's a unfair that the authors of these posts are being spooked, probably, unnecessarily. To the extent that the originator of the thread has decided to stop using wireless -- surely a pity when it's so useful with a laptop.

      My understanding is that it takes two different computers to make a successful attack on an encrypted wireless link -- one to create traffic and the other to monitor it and analyse the encryption. With WEP128 and an idiosyncratic password, dictionary attacks will take far longer than some people suppose except, perhaps, in the hands of the experts from whom the assertions about WEP arise.

      While the range of a wireless router may theoretically be 300 meters, that's line of sight. Best to avoid putting the router by a window but, otherwise (as all who use wireless will testify) the reliable range is pretty abysmal.

      A computer without file sharing turned on would be quite hard to do get into -- I have trouble getting my hard wired network to start sometimes.

      Doubtless WPA is better than WEP, but WEP is better than no encryption and better than being scared out of using one's computer to its full capabilities.

    8. #7
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      Re: How secure is my Sky router

      I wasn't trying to spook anyone and it's certainly not what I intended by my post so I apologise if that was the case. It is more about educating people and making them aware of potential vulnerabilities in their network because a lot of people are blissfully unaware of these sort of weaknesses and think that just by turning on WEP they are well protected.

      I agree that WEP is better than no encryption at all but people just need to be aware that it is not really a safe method to use if you definately want to keep hackers out of sensitive data or prevent them from using your broadband connection for illegal activities. I personally would now never use WEP after the discoveries I have made about it. And no...it doesn't require two computers to break into it...just one is enough. I won't go into all the techno jargon about why or how it is so easy to break into WEP because there are plenty of articles out there on the web that describe why it is so weak, however, this is a link to a recent article on the subject as a starting point...

      Don't use WEP for Wi-Fi security, researchers say

      WPA on the other hand is a completely different kettle of fish and the only real way to crack it is with a brute force dictionary attack on the WPA network key/password which is why it is important to use a network key as long as possible (63 characters is the max length allowed...so use all 63 characters!), and one which is just a load of gobbledegook (never use any known words). If you do this then in most of cases it will prevent a dictionary attack succeeding because it will require billions of words to be tried which would take even the fastest processor months and months to itterate through.

      Just as a final point, it should be said that to crack WEP someone has to be specifically trying to do so with specific software tools for hacking wireless networks. Someone will not be able to get into a WEP enabled connection simply by trying to connect to your router (unless of course they somehow get lucky and manage to correctly guess the WEP network key/password used). Let's face it, most of the risk will be from "script kiddies" living next door who are out to prove something to their mates so using WPA instead of WEP encryption will put pay to that immediately. Although it does happen on rare occasions, the probability of a professional hacker parked outside your house trying to hack into your home network is pretty low.
      Last edited by GaryM; 24-04-07 at 01:20 AM. Reason: typos

    9. #8
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      Re: How secure is my Sky router

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

      Quite right too.

      Also, if I'm not mistaken the OP had stated that they had already decided not to use wireless.

      Quote Originally Posted by Sharon B View Post
      Even though my laptop is wireless enabled, I am not interested in going wirelss because of my concerns about security.

      Nobody suggested that they shouldn't use it, just be aware of its limitations and what can be done to increase its security, if you are worried about it.
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      Re: How secure is my Sky router

      Obviously, people mean well and it's quite right to point out the need for encryption.

      I just think that taking industrial-strength problems and applying them to domestic situations is unhelpful.

      The best reason for avoiding wireless is not security but the difficulties of setting up encryption -- plus the limitations to reception and the related performance issues.

      It would have helped Sharon B more if some solutions to those problems had been offered.

    11. #10
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      Re: How secure is my Sky router

      Quote Originally Posted by fihart View Post
      It would have helped Sharon B more if some solutions to those problems had been offered.
      James did actually reply with a solution on how to switch off wireless on the router which is what the OP actually requested. I then offered an alternative solution on how to make the wireless more secure as it seemed that the OP wasn't convinced about the security of wireless which is why I then also proceeded to explain the difference between the security of WEP and WPA to try and build the OP's confidence in using a WPA'd wireless connection should she wish to do so. Therefore I believe the questions/concerns from Sharon B have been fully answered

      After the given advice, Sharon B has opted not to use wireless at all which is her perogative and to be honest if a machine is in a location where using a wired connection between it and the router will be inobtrusive then it is always the best method to use anyway for both security and connection reliability reasons.

     

     
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