ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Police have arrested a man for using someone else’s wireless Internet network in one of the first criminal cases involving this fairly common practice.
Benjamin Smith III, 41, faces a pretrial hearing this month following his April arrest on charges of unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony.

See the article here.

The number of wireless networks in use within homes in the UK has increased considerably over the past 12 months as more and more UK users buy extra PC’s for use within the house and then purchasing wireless routers to connect them to there broadband connections.

To the average home user who has little knowledge of PCs let alone PC wireless security, very little information is given.

Should they use WEP, WPA-PSK or WPA-802 1x ? And there are a few others.

When you check the security settings on my Netgear DG834GT router, I currently have it set to Security Options: Disabled, yet I consider it to be secure.

I use MAC Address Authentication method. Each Network device has a unique address. Whether this be a wireless Ethernet card in your PC, or an in built Ethernet device, they all have this unique address.

You then set up a trusted entity access list and only allow those MAC Addresses access. In theory it is possible to break most of the widely used encryption methods used, but it is virtually impossible to imitate a MAC address.

It is actually quite easy to clone a MAC address, but extremely difficult to obtain it without gaining physical access to the device in the first place. So in the instance of the various PCs within my house, I have added their MAC addresses to my authorised list. It is almost impossible for someone to drive up outside my house and determine the MAC addresses of any machines on my network. They will still detect a wireless network from my house and they will also determine that there is no security enabled. But they won’t be able to access my network because their MAC address will not be on my autorised list.

Some of the encrption methods are quite secure, but they involved adding quite a lot of overhead bandwidth, thus reducing the effective speed of your wireless network.

You can also purchase quite expensive equipment to sit on your network to handle network security, but that is beyond requirements of most common home users.