A Geeky Glossary

I am going to be doing a post on securing your wireless router to prevent undesirables from coming in and borrowing a cup of Internet without your approval.  I am going to be using a lot of terms that many of you may not know off-hand.  So, I am giving you a little primer before I get into the meat of the subject.

Wireless Router: This is a device which allows computers to connect to a network without using wires.  Most wireless routers also have ethernet ports for wired connections.

WEP: Wired Equivalent Privacy.  This is a wireless security standard that uses a hexadecimal security key to allow the same security as wired networks.  Unfortunately, it has serious weaknesses that allow it to be cracked in a matter of minutes and, therefore, should be avoided.

WPA: Wi-Fi Protected Access.  This is a wireless security standard that is far superior to WEP.  It uses a Pre-Shared Key (PSK) that is made up of 64 Hexadecimal Digits (0-9, A-F) or 63 Printable ASCII Characters (94 characters, plus SPACE).  This security makes it difficult to crack using brute force.

Brute force attack: This is a method of attack used by hackers that simply tries every combination of a password in order to break into a computer.  This is the slowest way to hack.  Luckily, it seems to be the only way to crack a PSK in properly configured routers.

Open Connection: An unprotected wireless connection.  Many restaurants and hotels use open connections.

Wi-Fi: Contrary to popular belief, Wi-Fi does not stand for Wireless Fidelity.  It is actually a trademark of the Wi-Fi Alliance and refers to a certification standard.  All Wi-Fi connections are wireless, but not all wireless connections are Wi-Fi.

802.11(x): These are the standards carrying Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) as defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).  Their committee is called IEEE 802 (big surprise).

So, there you go, a quick look at some of the terms I will be using for a post next week.  I hope this helps.  I am going to change the primary topic from wireless router security to properly and securely setting up your router.  I will get right to work on it and post it as soon as possible.  Have a good day.