View Full Version : Need Wireless Security help

12-20-2008, 04:56 PM
Ok, computer masters! Time to help the old man out a bit...

At Thanksgiving, my neice told me that she connected to my wireless at a quickstop not too far from my house. I'm not sure that I believe her, but it has made me a bit nervous. I do have some security, I thought, but now I'd REALLY like more. I have had WEP enabled on my laptop since I got it, but when I try to enable WPA or WPA2, I can't connect to the internet.

Any ideas why I can't use WPA? What can/should I do?

12-20-2008, 05:51 PM
hmm. is your laptop set up to automatically connect? if it is, make sure you didnt forget to change the WEP key to the WPA key when you changed your router from WEP to WPA.

12-20-2008, 07:55 PM
You just lost me. Haha! This is all new to me!

It is set up to automatically connect. How do I go about changing my WEP key to the WPA key?

12-20-2008, 08:46 PM
Vike, what OS are you running? You can google it no problem. I've never connected a laptop wirelessly but other devices such as ethernet converters and game consoles. It's possible that wpa isn't supported within the OS. I'll look into it when I get home.

12-20-2008, 10:09 PM
You just lost me. Haha! This is all new to me!

It is set up to automatically connect. How do I go about changing my WEP key to the WPA key?

Me tinks he's typing about, you need to make it necessary to key in a password to logon to your account. If you're in the 'remember me' mode, anyone can logon to your account from afar even when you're on the net yourself and you won't even know it -

One day as a friend of mine who works for Turner Broadcasting was helping me with some software downloads. We got on the subject of provider costs. He mentioned that if I had a neighbor with wireless, we could actually share the account and just split the expense. He then opened his laptop and popped up a screen that showed all the locations within a 2 block radius that had broadband. He said as long as the host did not have a password he could logon to their account and use it. Kinda freaky when you think about it. Something you don't need to worry about so much if you have antiquated dial up -

Ya dood, get a password and use it! - :o

12-20-2008, 10:45 PM
Vike, go look at your router and tell us what brand it is.

12-20-2008, 11:18 PM
You need to make sure your router has WPA2-PSK enabled. Go into your router's Admin utility and enable it, set the key, the attempt to connect to the router. Windows SHOULD just prompt you for a password.

If we know what brand router you have, we can tell you more specifically what to do and how to do it.

Edit: WEP is pretty much worthless. You definitely need to upgrade.

12-21-2008, 01:44 AM
Doc, should we have him set up MAC address filtering as well? Just a thought... I use it as I don't quite trust people around me (I live in Silicon Valley where babies learn how to use computers at 3 months :eek:).

12-21-2008, 11:35 AM
So, with WPA2-PSK enabled, no one would be able to connect, even if I were on at the same time, right?

I have a 2Wire DSL Gateway Model 2701HG-B, and am running XP home SP3.

Sheesh, I'm such a noob at this!

12-21-2008, 02:16 PM
Yes you are, Bryce. ;) I'll get back to you with how to enable it from the router first, then how to connect to it via your laptop. Give me... 20min or so.

EDIT: http://support.2wire.com/index.php?page=view&article=60 There ya go for the router, just set it to WPA-2 PSK on the drop-down where it says "WEP-Open."

12-21-2008, 02:30 PM
That's what I do and that's when I end up not getting a connection. Even tried putting in my own code, and that didn't work either.

Could there be something that is happening?

12-21-2008, 02:42 PM
Well, you need to change it from a desktop that is connected by an Ethernet cable. When you change a setting, it temporarily disconnects simply because it has to reset to apply the new setting. ;) Also, because your computer is set to recognize the SSID (the name of your router's connection) as a WEP security, it is confused when it does not work as the router is then on WPA-2.

For your laptop's connection: Start > Control Panel > Wireless Network Setup (in Classic view)

Also, for the password, I believe it must be 13 case sensitive characters (meaning letters, numbers, AND punctuation) long.

12-21-2008, 02:50 PM
So, I need to change it to WPA-2 PSK, give it a 13 letter/number/punctuation password, save, and then restart my laptop. Right?

12-21-2008, 02:54 PM
No... haha. I meant that the router itself will reboot after you change the settings and save them. Then you'll have to change your laptop's wireless settings to match the new ones that your router has. The password for your connection must be 13 characters long, and can be anything. I was just trying to make sure you understood that punctuation and numbers count as well (common mistake).

12-21-2008, 06:53 PM
Well, I tried doing all that stuff, and failed miserably. Ended up calling the Pakastani helpdesk (AT&T actually) and when I finally understood what she was saying, I ended up having to delete EVERYTHING I did before. I was without wireless connection for about an hour because of it!

Ended up changing channels, power and my password encryption, but it's still WEP which is a bummer...

12-21-2008, 06:58 PM
Well, WEP is better than nothing. If you want, you can call them back up and ask about MAC Address filtering. :) Hell, you don't even really need an encryption with that (as far as access goes, but you need some form of encryption to be even close to safe looking at important secure things like bank accounts, PayPal, etc), they simply can't access your internet without being on the allowed MAC address list. Again, be sure to do it from a desktop or other wired location so that the wireless does not run the risk of cutting out at a crucial moment and screwing over your router.

12-21-2008, 07:12 PM
Yeah, I'd still love to have the WPA - the woman said that if I do that, then take my laptop anywhere away from home, I'd have to reconfigure all the time just to connect. Since I take it with me everywhere, I don't want to have to go through that.

Is she right about that?

Also, I try NOT to do paypal or any purchasing off my laptop, though I've gotten lazy with that recently. I need to rethink my habits, I think.

12-21-2008, 09:59 PM
I do all of my purchasing and stuff off of my laptop. I run my router with MAC address filtering and WPA-2 PSK encryption. At my parent's home, my dad runs his with WEP encryption and MAC address filtering. Both are very good methods, and although WEP is still not as good as WPA-2, it'll do just fine.

As for that representative... Yes, she is wrong, IMO. The laptop is smarter than the average bear and can distinguish one SSID from another, and one encryption type from another. If you go other places, it will recognize that. I don't know what that woman was thinking. :eyeroll: