Wireless network Security
October 25, 2004 9:33 PM   Subscribe

Wireless Network Security: I'd like to know more about keeping my info safe on OS X. [MI]

I run OS X, and have an Airport wireless network in my apartment. I currently have the Apple Firewall turned on. I used to run Doorstop but haven't for a long time. Based on some of the stories here and a friend who is pretty sure his passwords were taken while he was on a free wireless network, I'd like to know how to take care of a few different scenarios. I don't code at all, so would like easy interface solutions if possible. I've tried researching this online but am totally bewildered at all of the options out there! Can someone lead me in the right direction? I'd like to know how to:
a) have everything securely shut down so that only I can access the wireless network, and others would need a password
b) be able to make my network freely available to others without a password, but for me to be able to prioritize the access such as mosche in this question
c) use a free wireless access point (either in libraries, coffee shops or nice neighbours) without giving my passwords or personal data out (this may be called tunneling? I have VPN - will that help at all?).

Thank you very much!
posted by fionab to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Buy an inexpensive wireless router (make sure its 802.11b and g compatible). You can usually set simple security measures and priority though a browser interface.

As for connecting to free WAPs, just make sure your Airport is set to connect automatically rather than to a specific network. You shouldn't have to give out any information for free wireless access.
posted by tetsuo at 10:13 PM on October 25, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks tetsuo for the router idea. Just to be clear though, I meant that I am worried about password security as documented in this thread - not actually logging onto the WAP, but using it to access sites that use passwords.
posted by fionab at 10:36 PM on October 25, 2004

You might look at something like anonymizer (I have zero experience with this site and don't know how trustworthy it is). Something like that or one of the other sites that lets you surf by proxy with everything always encrypted would be the easiest. The best solution would be to set up your own VPN on your home computer and then use it as a relay to the internet. That harder, but you have more control.

As to your question A, tetsuo is correct. There will probably be a simple web interface that will let you configure your password and the like. Locking it down to the MAC address of your wireless cards is probably safer, but really, anybody who wants to crack your network will be able to crack a WEP password, and could probably mange to spoof a MAC address too. Very few people probably would though, and such is the price of convenience.

No idea about B. There's probably a way, but it might not be easy.
posted by willnot at 11:50 PM on October 25, 2004

Best answer: Here was a post about it a few months ago.
posted by mathowie at 12:01 AM on October 26, 2004

Response by poster: Perfect. Thanks guys - I missed that thread.
posted by fionab at 6:21 AM on October 26, 2004

your vpn will probably do what you want. i don't know much about them (in fact i just installed one last night because my employers put something behind the firewall, but i can't get it working) - ask whoever installed the vpn to explain what you need to do for safe and secure web browsing.
posted by andrew cooke at 6:49 AM on October 26, 2004

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