Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Securing Your WiFi

Filed under: Geek Work,The Dark Side,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:59 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

At least, as much as you can secure anything.

Some time back, I pointed you all toward an article about extending your wireless connection. Some of you expressed concern regarding security in relation to wireless connections in general and, specifically, after expanding the range of your wifi router. So, I thought I should get you all some links on how to batten down the hatches, so to speak.
I do think it’s important, though, to say a little something about security in general first.
Nothing is totally secure. If a computer is on a network, it can be compromised eventually, given enough time and money. Security is a matter of degrees, of balancing ease-of-use with peace-of-mind. And, while having wifi makes mobile communication easy, it is, by it’s very nature, insecure. Anything that broadcasts over an unsecured medium can only be so secure, you know? So, I think it’s important as you look at the links below to keep in mind that a determined attacker is going to get into your wifi network, no matter what you do. And, personally, I am more than a little paranoid, so there are just some things I wouldn’t do over a wireless network.

Okay, so, without further ado, here are the links:
First, if you don’t mind the pop-ups on About.com, here are Ten Tips for Securing Your Home WiFi Network. They’re not bad, but, really, some of them aren’t all that secure. Or, rather, they just give a somewhat inflated sense of security. Still, they’re better than nothing.
Better than those tips, though, is the Lifehacker Guide to Setting Up a Wireless Home Network. This takes you through setting up a wifi router and network from scratch and gives you fairly good tips about securing it along the way. (But, make sure to follow the link to their article ToDo – Secure Your Wireless Home Network!) Better still, follow the article at Ars Technica titled The ABCs of Securing Your Wireless Network.
Freakishly, Microsoft, who’s not known for their security practices, has an article about making Windows XP wireless a little more secure. If you run XP, it’s worth a look.
And, finally, for those of you with a little extra time, some spare computer resources, and a high level of paranoia, read the Step-by-Step Guide at SearchWindowsSecurity.com titled How To Create A VPN For Your Wireless Network. (Or, if you’d rather download a printable PDF, check out TechRepublic’s A Secure Wireless LAN Hotspot For Anonymous Users. It’s another way to do the same thing.) Frankly, it doesn’t get much more secure than that!

Hopefully, that gives all those curious minds out there enough to chew on to keep you off the streets at night!


Married Man!

Filed under: Personal Archive — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:00 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Well, it sure has been a long time since I did any updates on this page! In fact, it’s been literally months!! I can explain…

First off, I’ve been pretty damn busy at work. After my little adventure in the New Orleans airport, I hardly had a chance to sit down. Not only have I had to roll out two sets of patches, or “Service Packs” as they’re called now, on our Novell servers, but I’ve had to set up a Novell BorderManager Proxy server. Man, the troubles I’ve had with that! The initial setup was okay, but getting the VPN (Virtual Private Network) working has really bedeviled me. It’s been so bad that my boss, the CIO, had to raise some ruckus with our sales reps at Novell. He’s finally gotten me a connection with our local Support Engineer, who’s promised to come take a look at our configuration for me. Hopefully, he can find what a CNE (Certified Novell Engineer) with more than eight years experience has missed.
Second of all, I finally got my gorgeous girlfriend/fiancÚ to marry me. On Saturday, March 10th, 2001, Anne and I got married in the Canterbury Wedding Chapel at the Excalibur Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. Allie, Anne’s daughter, was our ring-bearer/flower-girl. The service was nice, short and attended by the photographer. We thought it was the perfect way to get married. No one hassling us or telling us what to do and how to do it. No meddling mothers or aunts or sisters to make us miserable. No seating charts or receptions to worry about planning. Just a cool, quick wedding and a great steak dinner afterward. After that, we spent most of the week running around Las Vegas doing tourist stuff. We went to see Sigfried & Roy, Tournament of Kings and The Blue Man Group. We also went to see Star Trek:The Experience, where I bought “genuine” Romulan Ale and Klingon Blood Wine. But, of course, work intervened and I had to come back a day early to “fix” something that had gone wrong. What would they do if I ever quit?
Finally, now that we’ve done all that, we’ve been looking for houses. It looks like we found a nice four-bedroom, two-bath, two-story house on a lot that’s almost double-deep! And, even with all the flooding that we’ve had here in Houston, it stayed dry. What could be better?!? Two koi-ponds, that’s what. That’s right, the property already has two koi ponds on it, complete with koi. There’s a fireplace with a Ben Franklin stove in it and a partially finished garage. There’s a covered car port that’s connected to the house by a covered walkway. It’s really great and I hope the sale goes through okay. We’re scheduled to close this Friday, 6/29/2001!
And, of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my kidney stone. That’s right, as if all the work I’ve been doing isn’t enough, I was doubled over in pain by a kidney stone last week Monday, 6/22/2001. It got so bad, that I had Anne take me to the emergency room. We ran into Charles, our paramedic friend, there who told the nurses to take good care of me, which they did. I got moved through as fast as I’ve ever been. And a nice, young doctor gave me some great pain medication. I still haven’t passed the damn thing, but I’m off to see the friendly urologist tomorrow. I plan on demanding that he “do something” about it because I’m tired of peeing through a strainer!
Until next time….

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