Tips for Securing Your Home Router
Seemingly minor and easily overlooked settings can still have profound security implications. Here are some steps you can take to make sure your wired or wireless home router — and by extension, your network — is as secure as possible.
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128 bit WEP devices can be used with 40 or 64 bit WEP
devices as long as the device driver has a way to set the lower
encryption level. Encryption level is determined by the
encryption key length. If a device is capable of 128 bit
encryption, it's inherently capable of 40 bit, unless the vendor
decides for some reason to not allow the lower encryption level.
64 bit WEP is the same as 40 bit WEP!
The lower level of WEP encryption uses a 40 bit (10
Hex character) "secret key" (set by the user),
and a 24 bit "Initialization Vector" (not under
user control). Some vendors refer to this level of WEP
as 40 bit, others as 64 bit. Either way, they're the same
encryption level and can interoperate.
The higher level of WEP encryption, commonly referred to as 128
bit WEP, actually uses a 104 bit (26 Hex character)
"secret key" (set by the user), and a 24
bit "Initialization Vector" (not under user control).
The methods for entering WEP codes are confusing enough, but
it gets worse if you are trying to get wireless products from
different manufacturers to work together! A particularly
tricky combination is products based on the Lucent/WaveLAN
drivers (ORiNOCO, Buffalo Tech) with products based on the
Intersil PRISM drivers (SMC, Linksys, D-Link, others).
The key to success is to pay attention to the WEP key formats
that must be used for each product.
The Lucent based products typically require you to enter the
WEP key in either ASCII or Hexadecimal (Hex) format. The
default is ASCII, i.e. regular alpha-numeric characters.
If you want to use Hex format, you must start the code with "0x"
(that's the number zero and a lower-case "x"). A typical
WaveLAN based WEP setup screen is shown below.
In this example, Keys 1, 2, and 4 use ASCII format
and Key 3 uses Hexadecimal.
Now look at this typical Intersil PRISM WEP client
setup screen. This example is from a Client card that allows
either 64 or 128 bit WEP.
Two methods can be used:
1) Passphrase Method:
This method generates a Hexadecimal key from an ASCII
string that you enter.
This is not the same as directly
entering an ASCII key!
2) Manual Entry Method:
This method requires you to enter a 10 character Hexadecimal
key for 64 bit WEP, and a 26 character Hexadecimal key
for 128 bit WEP. (The "Manual Entry" input area changes
to accomodate the larger key.)
The simplest way to get these two products to work
together is to use Hexadecimal keys, since that method
is common to both.
Tip #1: Remember to use the "0x" prefix
to indicate Hexadecimal
Tip #2:Make sure your card can support the WEP level
that you are trying to set! ORiNOCO "Silver"
cards support only 64 bit WEP. "Gold" cards
support 64 or 128 WEP.
Tip #3:Remember to enter the correct number of
characters for the desired encryption level in the Lucent
WEP Setup window. Use the popup WEP
Code Summary if you forget how many characters you need