Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Fast man!

Woah, I'm sitting at the table with my TOTALLY WIRELESS LAPTOP. I don't actually know how it happened, but by some trickery and holding of the elbow at the right angle we've made it work. I can recommend if anyone is after some free internet access, Petone at the moment is the place to come, as I haven't yet sussed out the firewall.

7 comments:

ben.run said...

I recommend WPA or at least WEP, MAC filtering, and IPSec.
Okay, got that? :-)

Martha said...

Cripes. Got none of that. I need Geeks-on-wheels.

hers said...

I agree. About all of the things that he said. Or you could just switch it all off. Which would really just put you back where you atarted.

Oh gosh, it's late. I really need to sleep.

David said...

Unfortunately I understood everything that Ben said.

I'm just a sad wanker.

Martha said...

Okay all you people that know how it works. Talk me through a bit more slowly please.

a. How do I know if my firewall is on?
b. How do I know what is operating as a firewall?
c. Does the windows firewall do anything?
d. Does my AVG provide any firewall protection?

Merci.

David said...

There are two things going on here...

1. Stopping other people using your wireless service, or listening in to your transmissions. To stop that you need to encrypt the wireless link. You should also be able to configure the access point so it only accepts connections from your laptop. If you were a company, you'd also implement key management, authentication by digital certificate, and several other features. But you don't have a room full of servers with names like "Radius", so keep it simple. The exposure is small in a home environment... probably your only risk is a geeky neighbour trying to get free internet. And anyone that geeky is going to have broadband already.

2. You should protect the laptop against threats, whether those threats arrive via a wire or wireless. There will be a firewall built in to your ADSL modem. But the one built in to Win XP is rather good, so run it also. You'd probably want to run anti-virus as well. Anti-virus and firewall are two different things... the firewall stops connections, but the anti-virus looks at content once a connection has been made (such as when you have already received an e-mail or downloaded a file). A quick check of the web suggests that AVG doesn't bundle a firewall. So run AVG, the Win XP firewall, and make sure that you keep AVG up to date with signature file updates... if they're more than a couple of days old, then you might as well not bother.

To tell if the Win XP firewall is on... Control panel > Security Center will tell you if it is on or off, and let you change the settings.

Also, keep your patches up to date. These days, I think patching and firewalls are more important than anti-virus. If you're not the sort of person to run an executable attachment that someone e-mails to you, then you probably don't need anti-virus at all. I run quite happily without it. We see a certain low level e-mail virus infection rate at work... maybe one or two a month, altho we block 50-100,000 at the gateway. Not worth worrying about. But a worm that infects via open ports (and therefore is likely to be stopped by patches or firewalls) can take down out network in 10 minutes. Sasser did this a couple of years ago... 15,000 users being denial of serviced to death. And a couple of thousand infected computers. It wasn't pretty. I didn't get off the phone for a couple of days. And I made the front page of the paper... never a good thing.

Martha said...

Thanks David, terrifically helpful. I'm all covered then. I had found the XP Firewall, and it was turned on, but I'm pleased to know it is good.