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  • Security risks: Wired Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi

    Posted on Tracey Capen Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Security risks: Wired Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi

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      • #2265414 Reply
        Tracey Capen
        AskWoody MVP

        LANGALIST By Fred Langa Fundamental differences in wired and wireless networking mean that neither can provide the same level of data security. Here’s
        [See the full post at: Security risks: Wired Ethernet vs. Wi-Fi]

        3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265471 Reply
        gtd12345
        AskWoody Plus

        In my view, this answer may be technically correct, but is not helpful, especially to non-technical people.

        • How many of us really have an NSA van parked in front of our house snooping on our wifi?  Why would we be such a valuable target?
        • If we have a relatively recent router whose firmware does not contain the KRACK vulnerability, and have set a decent complex wifi password, the odds of my wifi being decrypted are so infinitesimal as to be inconsequential.
        • Do I really care if 5,000 years from now the server farm dedicated to snooping on me will finally decrypt my wifi and be able to view my cat videos?
        • Making blanket statements such as “ethernet is safer than wifi” may persuade people to 1) not use wifi, depriving themselves of a real convenience; you can’t use an iPad, for example, without it.  My internet drop is in an inconvenient place; without wifi, I would either have to use the internet in a closet near the front door, or pay an electrician to install ethernet in multiple places I might want to plug in; or 2) not bother with wifi encryption at all because “it’s easy to crack anyway.”
        • Statistically the largest percentage of computer intrusions come from pfishing attacks, which work just as well over ethernet as wifi.  Those who are concerned about security should focus on the biggest threats first.
        • For the vast majority of people in the vast majority of situations, wifi is just as safe as ethernet.
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        • #2265505 Reply
          anonymous
          Guest

          For the vast majority of people in the vast majority of situations, wifi is just as safe as ethernet.

          Yes it is, as long as the security of the router and its wifi signal are both properly configured.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2265616 Reply
          Elly
          AskWoody MVP

          The important thing is to assess your particular situation and needs. The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has multiple guides to Surveillance Self-Defense, including a guide on developing Your Security Plan.

          One needs accurate information of what various risks are, in order to evaluate a personal risk… and that includes your personal risk tolerance. Understanding exactly what the risks are, your personal resources, and making an informed, yet flexible plan… recognizing you are not invulnerable… but are able to minimize risk of exposure.

          Reviewing what most of us adopted before the various risks were recognized is important. For many people, the ISP sent an installer, and then someone showed them how to connect, with no explanation or documentation of what risks they may incur, or even that they exist. Success was having a connection, not preservation of privacy and security. Personally, when I read Fred’s article, I take the opportunity to compare the various risks and ask myself if I can or want to make any changes. So, as a non-techy, I found the article quite informative and helpful.

          Non-techy people are the very ones that need access to this type of information, as they are the ones left vulnerable by widespread corporate disregard, that seeks to promote the adoption of their products, while disregarding or minimizing potential risks.

          Non-techy Win 10 Pro and Linux Mint experimenter

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      • #2265571 Reply
        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        WPA and now even WPA2 WiFi encryption have both been cracked.  And it doesn’t take a NSA van to do it either.  Anyone with a laptop, expertise, and the easily obtained nefarious software can do it.  I was hoping by now there would have been a WPA3, but I haven’t heard anything.  I keep my WiFi turned off except on rare occasions.

        The long and short of it is – do you really want someone getting into your computer and accessing your email contacts and other sensitive info.  At the very least you could have neighbors using your Internet connection and bandwidth to watch movies and lots of other things.  You’re then wondering why things are so slow for you.  Just saying, it’s possible even if you think your locked down.

        Win 7, Sandy Bridge 3.3GHz, Linux Mint 19.1, Klaatu barada nikto

        • #2265610 Reply
          PaulK
          AskWoody Lounger

          At the very least you could have neighbors using your Internet connection and bandwidth to watch movies and lots of other things. You’re then wondering why things are so slow for you.

          When in doubt if there is an unwanted ‘guest’ – and if your router has the function – log into the router and look at the Devices panel. The Linksys EA6350 shows all devices that have been on, wired and wireless, active and inactive. Inactive can be manually ‘x’-ed out of the list. Of course your router is properly secured, right?

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        • #2265693 Reply
          Michael432
          AskWoody_MVP

          WPA2 has not been cracked. There have been some bugs, but they were fairly minor and if a router is reasonably current then bugs are not an issue. That said, the WPA2 password needs to be long enough to defeat brute force guessing. Probably 13 characters is sufficient, but the exact number will always be debatable. And WPS and UPnP need to be disabled.

          Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org

          2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2265686 Reply
        Michael432
        AskWoody_MVP

        Geeze, Fred. Microsoft and the FTC for router security advice? Googling “router security” is all it takes to find my RouterSecurity.org website. Huge number of mistakes in the FTC article.

        First sentence: “Going wireless generally requires connecting an internet “access point” – like a cable or DSL modem – to a wireless router, which sends a signal through the air, sometimes as far as several hundred feet.

        Mistakes: An access point is not a modem. Apples and oranges. And, if the router is wireless there is no need to connect an access point to it.

        Second sentence: “Any device within range can pull the signal from the air and access the internet.”

        Mistake: Everyone uses WiFi passwords, and has for years, so “any” device can not access the Internet from the “signal”.

        Third sentence: “Unless you take certain precautions, anyone nearby can use your network.”

        Mistake: I assume this is referring to Open WiFi networks (those without a password). Open networks have not not been an issue for a long long time.

        yada yada yada

        Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org

        • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by Michael432.
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