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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 09-16-2006, 02:45 PM   #1
MBA Whore
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Linux laptop and wireless - some questions


I want to get a laptop running linux (probably Dell E1705 or Dell B130, but I don't know for sure yet) with "wireless" technology. The needs are simple: wireless to go online and wireless to use the printer, no need for complex stuff like streaming audio / video / etc.

However I heard that wireless, in either Windows or Linux, is less secure than wired (i.e., easy to intercept). If this is true, then my questions are:

1) Is there a way to "encrypt" wireless transmissions (for Linux)?
2) If yes, then how easy is it to do so and how reliable is it?
3) Other than encrypting wireless transmissions, is there anything else I could do secure wireless transmissions, or is encryption the only realistic option?

Thanks. I look forward to your replies!
 
Old 09-16-2006, 07:32 PM   #2
dxqcanada
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Re: Wireless security

There are tons of docs concerning wireless security.

Use WPA. Purchase wireless hardware that supports WPA. This offers encryption.
Use WPA-PSK with very strong passwords.

Communicate to hosts using encrypted tunnels.
ie. SSL,SSH,VPN...
This offers an encrypted link inside a WPA encrypted tunnel.
 
Old 09-16-2006, 08:54 PM   #3
PTrenholme
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MBA Whore
I want to get a laptop running linux (probably Dell E1705 or Dell B130, but I don't know for sure yet) with "wireless" technology. The needs are simple: wireless to go online and wireless to use the printer, no need for complex stuff like streaming audio / video / etc.

However I heard that wireless, in either Windows or Linux, is less secure than wired (i.e., easy to intercept). If this is true, then my questions are:

1) Is there a way to "encrypt" wireless transmissions (for Linux)?
Yes, there are Linux implimentations of all wireless encription standards.
Quote:
2) If yes, then how easy is it to do so and how reliable is it?
Fairly easy, although you may need to install wpa_supplicant Note that EPA security is quite weak, and that you need to use WPA or WPA2 encription prolocols. (EPA encription is so weak that there's a tool you can download to extract EPA passwords.)
Quote:
3) Other than encrypting wireless transmissions, is there anything else I could do secure wireless transmissions, or is encryption the only realistic option?
Well, you could encript your files before sending them. But that would require that the recepiant know the key a priori, or that you send the key unencripted, which would rether defeat the purpose of having the key. Realistically, I think you need a protected network.
Quote:
Thanks. I look forward to your replies!
 
Old 09-17-2006, 03:16 PM   #4
MBA Whore
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dxg and PTr . . . or anyone else reading

dxg and PTr . . . or anyone else reading:

Thanks for your input. Does either of you know how can educate myself on wireless and linux? I am new to both. Is there a suggested website, perhaps one that takes time to define terms, explain structures, etc?

Also, would I be able to install all of that WPA stuff via synaptic, or would I have to find a tar and do it that way?

Thanks!
 
Old 09-26-2006, 06:48 PM   #5
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dxg, PT (and any others)

So, would WPA be your suggestion? Is that what you folks use? I want something safe and secure, but not terribly complicated (this would ultimately be for mom. . .a very computer illiterate person).
 
Old 09-26-2006, 08:31 PM   #6
sundialsvcs
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If you're doing ordinary web-browsing at Starbuck's, none of the traffic in the coffee-shop is likely to be encrypted unless someone is using a secure site, VPN or what-have-you. The important thing in such a situation is to simply make sure that your firewall rules are such that no attempts to connect to your machine will be accepted. For instance, if you are using network file-sharing in your office, on a wire, that might be okay, but if you are at the coffee-shop, no such inbound connection-requests ought to be coming in. Nor should they be allowed.

If you are communicating with a secure web-site, then SSL2 is already encrypting that communication. Sure, someone might theoretically be snooping on what's being exchanged between your computer and the web-site you're surfing, but who really cares.

As for WEP, WPA and so-on, think of those as being good enough to deter someone from "borrowing your router," but not much more. Y'know, that's really what those facilities were designed for...

If you have something seriously-secret to discuss, then sure, use WEP or WPA "because it's there," as yet-another obstacle to the snoopers, but then use truly-strong methods, like VPN, to secure the communication.

(Incidentally, you really should be using VPN internally in most networks, imho. "The fact that someone can plug into the same wire" does not mean they are authorized.)

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 09-26-2006 at 08:33 PM.
 
Old 09-27-2006, 05:11 PM   #7
MBA Whore
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I will look ... but....

Quote:
Originally Posted by sundialsvcs

If you have something seriously-secret to discuss, then sure, use WEP or WPA "because it's there," as yet-another obstacle to the snoopers, but then use truly-strong methods, like VPN, to secure the communication.

(Incidentally, you really should be using VPN internally in most networks, imho. "The fact that someone can plug into the same wire" does not mean they are authorized.)
I will look for info about wireless encryption but in the meantime, could you (or anyone else reading this) tell me what is "VPN" and how it differs from WEP, WPA, etc?

Yes, her hdd and web traffic could have some important stuff on it, so I want the encryption (hdd and web) to be good.

I assume hdd encryption can be done the same way as wireless encryption. . .or is that a totally different topic requiring a totally different post?

/ off to google
// thanks !!
 
Old 09-27-2006, 06:25 PM   #8
Penguin of Wonder
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VPN isn't a form of encryption like WEP or WPA.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_Private_Network

The hard drive encryption would definatly be a different thread. It might be something that could be found on your distros wiki though.
 
Old 09-28-2006, 02:04 PM   #9
Fireball7
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Just a suggestion, but if it's security you're worried about here are a few ideas:
1. Have your wireless router filter by MAC address (most of today's routers support this feature).
This may or may not be feasible depending on your implementation; but if it's a home (or even small
office) router I would suggest it. For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAC_addresshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAC_address
2. As many have said: Use encryption. depending on your distro, you may have to install some packages
to use some encryption methods. WPA is the best, though anything is crackable. I suggest 128-bit encryption.


Good luck with everything.
 
Old 09-30-2006, 01:31 PM   #10
MBA Whore
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Great...thanks for

Great...thanks for the tips....I will be looking more closely into those.
 
  


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