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Help with wireless security--we were hacked.

Last response: in Wireless Networking
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March 17, 2011 2:25:52 PM

I apologize if this is posted in the wrong spot, I'm not computer savvy. Someone used our wireless and also took our mac address. I didn't even know this was possible, thought I'd done what I should to be safe. I use Comcast as a provider and had a linksys router, which I've replaced with a new D link. It has a password. I use Norton provided by Comcast for security, the other computer has AVG. Both are PCs, one Dell and one Toshiba. I really need to learn what else I should do. I tried a local place and the tech said it's impossible if someone is determined.
Thanks SO much, this problem is really eating away at me.
a b F Wireless
March 17, 2011 2:48:09 PM


The lowest of wireless security protection, known as WEP, is inadequate but if you step up to WPA or better still, WPA2, hackers find it much harder to penetrate. Your tech guy was both realistic but pessimistic in my opinion - 90% of users will live outside the range of such crooks as hackers but for the rmaining ten per cent, stepping up security is king.

Given that only you and yours need to know you have a wireless network, hide the SSID or network name and that helps a little. You can also allow only the computers you wish to into the system to the exclusion of all others.

How do you know someone stole your MAC? Are you under investigation for illegal downloads or similar?

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a c 79 F Wireless
March 17, 2011 2:49:23 PM

did you have a wireless password?

did they hack into the wireless router and then into your computer, or did you have a Trojan Virus and that is how they got in?

the safest wireless mode is WPA2.

what are they doing with the MAC address? Are they using it from their house to connect to Comcast?

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March 17, 2011 3:25:47 PM

I'll reply within your text. Thanks very much for taking time to reply.

Emerald said:
did you have a wireless password?
At the time, the router didn't have a password. The new one does.

did they hack into the wireless router and then into your computer, or did you have a Trojan Virus and that is how they got in?
We aren't sure which it was but someone was definitely making it seem like stuff was originating from a computer that was being used in our home--and in several instances, no one was even home at the time the stuff happened. And our dog can't type.

the safest wireless mode is WPA2.
We now have WPA2-PSK.


what are they doing with the MAC address? Are they using it from their house to connect to Comcast?


It appears that's exactly what they're doing. It seems there's no way to tell that it's not actually ours either. Very scary.
Right about the time this began we got a new Dell Inspiron laptop. It was constantly having problems with staying connected and in fact, if both notebooks were on and the other old laptop went to sleep it would lose its connection every time. Tech place said it must be set up as a network (?) but followed his directions and checked and it wasn't, at least not in a way we could see. MAC address links to the Dell.
Thanks so much for any help.
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March 17, 2011 3:41:05 PM

Saga Lout said:

The lowest of wireless security protection, known as WEP, is inadequate but if you step up to WPA or better still, WPA2, hackers find it much harder to penetrate. Your tech guy was both realistic but pessimistic in my opinion - 90% of users will live outside the range of such crooks as hackers but for the rmaining ten per cent, stepping up security is king.

Given that only you and yours need to know you have a wireless network, hide the SSID or network name and that helps a little. You can also allow only the computers you wish to into the system to the exclusion of all others.

How do you know someone stole your MAC? Are you under investigation for illegal downloads or similar?

Bingo. We did absolutely NOTHING, don't have the skills. Email, reading news pretty well describes my ability level. Shop at Amazon, read on Wikipedia, use Mapquest or Google for info but never go to any link in something/from someone I don't know, only the ones Norton gives an okay check to. That's about it. Don't download anything except once in a while a pic from our kids. Spouse used to purchase games but I've checked with both companies, they're big companies with very good ratings so I don't think that was it. But who knows? It's been a long year while it was being investigated. Worst, we're not totally cleared unless they track down who it really was. It's ludicrous b/c I had to research to even understand what they were talking about and I'm still not sure I totally understand how such a thing is possible.
We now have WPA2-PSK with a password which only I know. Too late. Somewhere I saw mention of hiding your wireless. How can I determine if ours is now hidden? And are there better security programs we should use? If our computer was part of a network, I don't know how it happened unless new ones do that automatically? How do I tell if the ones we're using now are in a network? Whenever I was asked anything about sharing, allowing access, etc during setup or any other time I always select no. But clearly I made some mistake that left us vulnerable and it's very frightening to think of going through this ever again.
I appreciate any help. I hope I explained this well enough. Thanks.
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a c 79 F Wireless
March 17, 2011 3:52:14 PM

the going to sleep and loosing connection could be due to a power setting on the laptop under the network card properties. By default the computer is set to turn of the NIC to save power.

Did you use the MAC address cloning in the router?


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a c 79 F Wireless
March 17, 2011 3:57:15 PM

to hide your SSID you will just disable Broadcasting under your routers wireless settings
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March 17, 2011 4:01:58 PM

I don't know what that means about using the MAC address cloning in the router. I didn't set up the original router and the person who did it set up years ago, knew computer stuff but had a severe stroke 4 years ago, which left him with a lot of cognitive damage. He didn't even remember/understand what a router was when I tried to ask him if it had a password. I smashed the router with a hammer when I replaced it. With the new one, I followed the directions provided by D link.
Thanks, I appreciate you taking time to help me.
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