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Standard User fourtytwo
(learned) Thu 18-Jun-20 21:43:42
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WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abroad!!


[link to this post]
 
Hi All

Just a note to peeps to ensure there WIFI password is secure, meaning computer generated random and as long (up to 64 chars) as you can cope with typing into the stupid Iphone that obscures it as you type it.



The reason for the warning is in the last few days I tracked down my poor network performance to an adjacent Vodaphone broadband installation using a Huawei router (MAC 84:47:65:C3:31:89) that appeared to have successfully hacked my very simple password of only 8 characters.

Using LINSSID under Linux I was able to watch this router following me up and down the channels every time I changed to try and get away from it. It is very hard to prove but several days after changing to a secure password my network performance has improved dramatically (and the wretched thing has stopped following me around) where before I was experiencing severe latency and poor speed test results.

Assuming the Huawei router has the suspected security backdoor it is highly likely this has nothing to do with my near neighbor the Vodaphone customer but rather there router is being used by a 3rd party for nefarious purposes.

Conspiracy theories rule Yahhh

W8960n on Lonnggggg line
Standard User caffn8me
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Thu 18-Jun-20 22:56:57
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: fourtytwo] [link to this post]
 
I use 1Password and generate my wi-fi passwords randomly. I can then share long passwords between devices easily and cut and paste on iPad etc.

You could also create a QR code to scan; BBC Click.

You're right about eight character wi-fi passwords being too short. That can be cracked in a matter of seconds.

Sarah

--
If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat

Spiders on coffee - Badass spiders on drugs
Standard User jabuzzard
(committed) Fri 19-Jun-20 01:09:45
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: fourtytwo] [link to this post]
 
Assuming you have the networking skills and suitable kit, I think it is much more fun to dick around with the people misusing your connection. It's getting harder with more https, but replacing all images with goatse will likely get the to stop ASAP.


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Standard User DanielCoffey67
(member) Fri 19-Jun-20 07:13:23
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: fourtytwo] [link to this post]
 
Also make sure you are using WPA2 rather than the less secure protocols which are much more simple to compromise.
Standard User steve25
(newbie) Fri 19-Jun-20 08:08:02
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: fourtytwo] [link to this post]
 
Sorry I cant see any link between WiFi hacking which is very unlikely with WPA encryption and a nearby WiFi router changing the WiFi channel it’s using which is normal behaviour, particularly with 2.4Ghz channels.
Standard User caffn8me
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 19-Jun-20 08:44:48
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: steve25] [link to this post]
 
Wi-Fi hacking is very easy with WPA and WPA2 encryption if the password is poor. Use your favourite web search engine to look for aircrack-ng.

I also wonder why an access point would follow another access point across multiple channel changes. Normal behaviour would be to avoid other active channels, wouldn't it?

Sarah

--
If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat

Spiders on coffee - Badass spiders on drugs
Standard User E300
(regular) Fri 19-Jun-20 08:57:28
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: fourtytwo] [link to this post]
 
I don't think this is hacking.

The access point following your channel change and picking the same one is not an indication of bad behaviour, quite the opposite if there are no overlapping channels available for neighbouring access points to be completely clear of each other. With no channels available the best choice is for an access point to pick the same channels as a neighbouring access point, this is because when they are both on the exact same channels they can "see each other" and interoperate to avoid collisions. If they are only partly overlapping then they can't interoperate, but still interfere.

I expect at some point during your changes the other access point has chosen a different one to interoperate with and has stuck with that one. I've seen the same behaviour with my own access point.

See https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/WiFi_Basics_and_... for useful info the bit of interest is:

When two wireless devices transmit at the same time, their radio signals will collide and become garbled. 802.11 devices on the same channel use a CCA check to avoid these collisions. However, the CCA check may not detect a transmission occurring on a different channel that also has some frequency overlap on the channel the check is being performed on. In this case, two 802.11 devices on different channels that overlap may transmit at the same time causing a collision and possible data corruption or frame loss. This is called interference because one device's transmission interferes with another device's transmission.
Standard User E300
(regular) Fri 19-Jun-20 09:45:57
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: caffn8me] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by caffn8me:
Normal behaviour would be to avoid other active channels, wouldn't it?


There are only 3 clear channels available. An access point at 2.4GHz is usually on channel 1, 6 or 11 (assuming 20MHz bandwidth) because in reality it needs 5 channels to work. If someone manually selects an intermediate channel, say 4 or 9 it causes other complications.

So if you have 4 access points all in ear shot of each other you have to have one sharing the same channels, either 1, 6 or 11. If for example the OP selected an intermediate channel number, say 3, then they now interfere with any access point using 1 or 6. The other access points can't co-operate with the interfering one as they are not on the exact same channels, so if interference is pretty bad because it is close by, the best thing then is to move itself to the exact same channels. Now they can interoperate to broadcast without collisions, although they will still slow each other down as they take it in turns to transmit, it is a co-ordinated slow down so range is less affected and repeat transmissions for corrupt packets are avoided, helping improve throughput.

So it is quite likely if the OP is changing channels to see one or more other access points follow the move at some point to match exactly, this might seem odd and counterproductive and without understanding what is going on we might think it must be a virus or hack, but it is by design.

Edited by E300 (Fri 19-Jun-20 09:54:40)

Standard User caffn8me
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Fri 19-Jun-20 17:27:24
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: E300] [link to this post]
 
Yes, I'm familiar with the non-overlapping channels of 1,6, 11 and the reasoning behind using them. I've just never played with domestic wi-fi routers on 'automatic' channel selection so had never given any thought to how well, or badly, it operated.

Sarah

--
If I can't drink my bowl of coffee three times daily, then in my torment, I will shrivel up like a piece of roast goat

Spiders on coffee - Badass spiders on drugs
Standard User zyborg47
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 05-Jul-20 09:17:18
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: fourtytwo] [link to this post]
 
I think I would see if someone tried to hi-jack my network, they would have to park right outside my house to get a signal, my home signal dies just outside my gate, my next door neighbours could I suppose, but they have no real reason to as they have their own broadband.

But you are right it is a good idea to have long passwords.

Adrian

Desktop machine Ryzen powered with windows 10 , reluctantly.

Plusnet FTTC
Standard User clyde123
(member) Sun 05-Jul-20 13:01:46
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
I took my laptop to a customer's the other day, ran the Acrylic Wifi checking software there.
When I was finished, closed the laptop but left it running. Drove the 30 miles home.
There is a list of SSIDs longer than all our arms combined - obviously the laptop picked up dozens of home and business SSIDs while driving by.
Standard User gomezz
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 05-Jul-20 15:58:16
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: clyde123] [link to this post]
 
What has that to do with secure passwords?

BT Infinity 1 (unlimited)
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sun 05-Jul-20 16:21:06
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: zyborg47] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by zyborg47:
But you are right it is a good idea to have long passwords.

Try living in a block of flats. I've used 63 chars (the max is not 64) for ~15+ years. I was the first with WiFi in this block using old 802.11b and I try to remember to change my passphrase every 18 months or so.

I'm most disappointed in recent Intel WiFi cards that don't support the update to WPA3, so I'm using WPA2/WPA3 mode on my router. Most consumer hardware has not yet heard of WPA3 !

20 years of broadband connectivity since 1999 trial - Live BQM
Standard User clyde123
(member) Sun 05-Jul-20 16:36:03
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: gomezz] [link to this post]
 
A comment on the sheer number of Wifi networks visible to the general public.
Standard User neo_wales
(regular) Mon 06-Jul-20 23:58:18
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: clyde123] [link to this post]
 
12 to 15 characters should be enough for a home router unless the Chinese government are picking on your router.

Robert
South Wales UK
Talk Talk FTTC
i9 PC
i7 Surface Pro 7
Standard User liemmayer
(newbie) Tue 08-Dec-20 20:48:04
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: jabuzzard] [link to this post]
 
It all works much harder, all sorts of similar methods work well, or can be ruled out as an option! But nevertheless everything is possible!
Standard User ukhardy07
(knowledge is power) Wed 09-Dec-20 11:27:56
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Re: WIFI passwords, make as secure as possible, hackers abro


[re: E300] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by E300:
I don't think this is hacking.

The access point following your channel change and picking the same one is not an indication of bad behaviour, quite the opposite if there are no overlapping channels available for neighbouring access points to be completely clear of each other. With no channels available the best choice is for an access point to pick the same channels as a neighbouring access point, this is because when they are both on the exact same channels they can "see each other" and interoperate to avoid collisions. If they are only partly overlapping then they can't interoperate, but still interfere.

I expect at some point during your changes the other access point has chosen a different one to interoperate with and has stuck with that one. I've seen the same behaviour with my own access point.

See https://documentation.meraki.com/MR/WiFi_Basics_and_... for useful info the bit of interest is:

When two wireless devices transmit at the same time, their radio signals will collide and become garbled. 802.11 devices on the same channel use a CCA check to avoid these collisions. However, the CCA check may not detect a transmission occurring on a different channel that also has some frequency overlap on the channel the check is being performed on. In this case, two 802.11 devices on different channels that overlap may transmit at the same time causing a collision and possible data corruption or frame loss. This is called interference because one device's transmission interferes with another device's transmission.
This is not correct, access points do not base themselves based on a neighbouring access point, the AP is not programmed to say "BT-XXXX" SSID has changed, lets follow it. If anything, if that SSID moved to another channel, it would free up space on the existing channel, and the AP would be happier. APs do not change channel easily, as it can cause user interruptions, the level of interference must be so great it is worth risking clients dropping for a channel to change. Devices choose 1,6 and 11 to avoid the part overlapping and interoperate issue you have highlighted (as I'm sure you are aware).

If you see a device swapping channel instantly, it seems like it's associated with your AP, more than anything.
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