Someone changed the locks, and it wasn't me!
November 21, 2007 6:04 PM   Subscribe

How did I get locked out of my home wireless connection? More importantly, how do I get back in?

Forgive me if I'm missing something basic here: I'm a Mac user with an AirPort base station. I got knocked off my wireless internet connection today because of a cordless phone call. When I tried to get back on, I was asked for my WEP password (stored in the keychain), and the network wouldn't accept it, and lists the network as locked in the menubar. It's not my ISP, because I can get on the internet just fine via ethernet (though it's in an inconvenient part of the house, and I have more than 1 computer, so I really need the wireless). Without my changing any settings, how would I get locked out like this?
posted by azure_swing to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've helped a friend who was locked out of their wireless router, and we found a tiny reset button you could depress with a paperclip. Does the AirPort have one of those? You'll have to set up everything again, but you won't be locked out.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:11 PM on November 21, 2007

Apparently, there is a reset button.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:11 PM on November 21, 2007

Yeah, use the reset button. This happened to me once because some idiot neighbor thought my unsecured router was his, and reconfigured it, and locked my ass out. When I broke back in, made the SSID "buttout", and secured it to keep him out.

So, WEP? Are you sure that's what you're using? I think that's really insecure. Maybe someone was being a dick by locking you out of your own router and changing the key on you, or just trying to teach you that it isn't secure.
posted by evariste at 6:16 PM on November 21, 2007

this is not a problem. reset and regroup. the manual will provide the details if it isn't already clear. good luck.
posted by caddis at 6:18 PM on November 21, 2007

nth doing a hard reset on the basestation.. I've had this happen a couple of times...

if you don't have the manual, just google "hard reset airport base station"...
posted by HuronBob at 7:09 PM on November 21, 2007

As evariste pointed out, WEP is a horrible, horrible means of securing a wireless network. Not only does WEP use a static key, but there are also no less than a million freely available tools that can crack WEP with relative ease. I have a CD right here that has a bootable Linux OS on it with a number of tools dedicated to cracking WEP. No joke.

So, I mean, anyone with intent could probably crack the AP open without breaking a sweat. Please consider switching to WPA or WPA2.

I know it's probably a reset problem and the AP is just a little cranky, but still - it could be worse. Someone could have compromised your wireless security and locked you out of your router.

Just something to keep in mind.
posted by kbanas at 7:59 PM on November 21, 2007

Agreed that someone might have locked you out; whenever I travel, I pop into the unsecured routers in the area (when it's a small number) and change the channels to 1, 11 and 6 so that they interfere less with each other. The only reason I don't lock people out of their own routers "to teach them a lesson" or whatever is that I am a fundamentally ethical person (although not so ethical that I don't piggyback on their connection to VPN into my mail server, I admit that.) Same reason I don't crack the WEP key on the secured ones, but it's trivial to do so.
posted by davejay at 9:40 PM on November 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks to all. Problem solved. And I've switched out of WEP, which I should have done a long time ago.
posted by azure_swing at 10:16 PM on November 21, 2007

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