Do I need Wi-Fi Protected Access?

Question

Hello,

My home network has both wired and WIFI. It is configured to onlu allow access to certain MAC addresses I give it. Do I still need to have it run WPA?

Thanks

Answer

This question was answered on October 3, 2005. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

If you’re planning on sending personal information over your wireless network, then yes Blocking MAC addresses will prevent unwanted users (like hackers) from accessing your network, but not from intercepting it Hackers drive around neighborhoods with a laptop and wireless NICs trying to intercept any and all data transmitted over a wireless network (a term called 'war driving') If that data is not encrypted, then a hacker can access it like a read-only file Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) not only prevents war drivers’ access to the network, it encrypts data sent across the network and without the right encryption key, it will appear as a random jumble of characters to anyone who intercepts it.

So blocking MAC addresses will prevent war drivers from directly accessing your network and rewriting your data, but it will not prevent them from intercepting transmissions and viewing the data sent.

Besides, you can never have too much security.

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Author

Posted by Nathan of Chandler-Gilbert Community College on October 3, 2005