Archive for May, 2008

Ok, how many of you have been in a similar situation as this? We have this wireless Ethernet bridge, the Linksys WET54G, that connects a MFC photocopier to the network since there’s no ethernet jack in the room its in. For over a year, its worked flawlessly using WEP to connect to a nearby AP. Recently we got a few more APs so we decided to change all of them to WPA encryption (easier to connect to, more secure, yadda yadda). With me so far?

So, I setup all of the APs, change the AP the bridge connects to over to WPA and change the bridge settings. Everything works great – for about an hour.  Then the bridge drops off the network. Hmm. After about an hour of double-checking, fiddling and power cycling its still not working. I check the Linksys website to ensure compatibility. Their data sheet says (and I quote) “To protect your data and privacy, all wireless transmissions can be encrypted with industrial-strength Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security. Supports WPA Security, 64/128-bit WEP Encryption”.

Great so at least I know they advertise WPA support – besides I know it supports it since it worked (for an hour). I check the firmware and I have the latest version which btw says “Fixed: A lost of connection will occur after a few hours in WPA mode”. A little further investigation on the web however and I’m beginning to suspect that only version 3 of the hardware supports WPA. I contact Linksys to see if this is true.

Here’s a transcript of the convo:

Hi, my name is Sherrie (22186). How may I help you?

Neil: Hi Sherrie, ok you are the third rep I have been referred to so I hope you can help me. I’m having the darnedest time trying to get my WET54G v2 to connect to a an AP via WPA. I suspect its impossible on v2 even though your website states otherwise. Is this true?

Sherrie (22186): Is this for initial setup?

Neil: No, the previous rep asked me the same thing. Its been working with WEP for over a year but no go for WPA. To save you the trouble of typing the next question, yes the firmware is version 2.10 but that didn’t fix the problem

Sherrie (22186): Is your AP a linksys device also?

Editor’s note: Ok, here we go. The last guy asked the same thing and when I told him “no” he told me they can’t confirm functionality with other manufacturer’s products. I knew that’s a load of BS so I kept being persistant and asked to talk with another rep. See what happens when I tell her its not a Linksys AP I’m trying to connect to

Neil: no, its a D-link
  ***** Conferenced With Kareen B. (18742)

 Neil: To reiterate, the WET54G likes working with it on WEP but not WPA. I  do have a WRT54G v8 router I could test – are you saying it would it work with that?

 Neil: BTW – every other device connects to my D-Link AP with no problem – its just the  WET54G

 Sherrie (22186): Let me transfer this session to the appropriate technician for your device okay?

 Kareen B. (18742): You may disconnect now Sherrie.

 Sherrie (22186): Thank you. Neil it will be Kareen who will assist you from here on.
 Sherrie (22186): disconnected

 Neil: Thanks Sherrie. Hi Kareen. Congrats – you are rep # 4!

 Kareen B. (18742): Hi Neil!

 Neil: Kareen, I’ve had the run around from 3 other reps so can you tell it to me straight – Is v3 of the WET54G the only model that can connect via WPA? Am I SOL becuase I have v2?

 Kareen B. (18742): Let me tell you that the WET54G is only compatible with WEP.

 Neil: Well – thanks for the straight answer – not the one I’d like but at least your honest 🙂

 Neil: Do you have an Ethernet bridge that is confiremd to be compaitble with WPA personal?

 Kareen B. (18742): Yes, only the version 3. You are right.

 Neil: Thanks. I guess I’ll either buy version 3 or a competitors product. Oh well. Thanks for your assistance.

 Neil: One word for the marketers though – please update your website to specify
 that only v3 works with WPA. Would have saved me hours of frustration.

 Kareen B. (18742): Thank you very much for taking the time to give us such valuable feedback! 

Neil: Anytime Kareen

 Kareen B. (18742): Don’t worry. I shall forward your concern to higher management.

 Neil: Oh I’m sure they’ll be thrilled.

 Kareen B. (18742): Would that be all?

 Neil: Unless you want to send me a free v3 of the WRT54G I guess it is 🙂

 Kareen B. (18742): If I can. (smiles)

 Kareen B. (18742): If you have general networking questions, you may visit our knowledge base. Thank you for choosing Linksys and have a great day.

Neil: Thanks again for the honesty. 

Kareen B. (18742): My pleasure.

Kareen B. (18742): Bye.

There you have it. The only honest rep at Linksys. The morale of the story is of course don’t believe everything is as advertised but if you do get suckered into buying a faulty product, ask for Kareen when you phone tech support.

On a recent trip on Hong Kong, my wife wanted to check her e-mail. So we went to the common room in our hostel to use the shared computers there and found that the computers had no anti-virus! So out of curiosity, I did a scan with Clamwin Portable and found the following:

Scan Started Tue May 14 17:15:07 2002
*** Scanning Programs in Computer Memory ***
*** Scanned 26 processes – 344 modules ***
*** Computer Memory Scan Completed ***
C:\WINDOWS\System32\fjnbv.dll: Trojan.Spy-33339 FOUND
C:\WINDOWS\System32\sperls.dll: Trojan.Spy-33339 FOUND
C:\WINDOWS\System32\winplay.exe: Trojan.Spy.Banker-5858 FOUND
C:\WINDOWS\System32\c4.exe: Trojan.Agent-4538 FOUND
C:\WINDOWS\System32\c5.exe: Trojan.Agent-4538 FOUND
C:\WINDOWS\System32\4.exe: Trojan.Ceckno FOUND
———– SCAN SUMMARY ———–
Known viruses: 280948
Engine version: 0.93
Scanned directories: 0
Scanned files: 370
Infected files: 6
Data scanned: 225.24 MB
Time: 62.297 sec (1 m 2 s)

… oh boy

So I thought it would be good to tell remind people how to be safe while you are away from home. These same tips also apply for public networks / computers in North America.

1. Make sure that the computer you are using has up to date anti-virus software installed. If you do not see it, don’t use it for anything more then checking your e-mail. And even then, consider changing your e-mail password when you get back home. Trojans and keyloggers can steal all sorts of data and passwords from you. Only use your own laptop computer for anything personal like banking or using a credit card.

2. Shields up! Make sure your firewall is up to prevent unwanted access to your laptop on the public network.

Windows XP Fire

Mac OS

3. Use a SSH tunnel on a public network to encrypt your data. This step may be a bit much for some but it is definitely worth it for that extra security.

SSH tunneling how to from Engadget

Safe journey!

Apparently, the founder of Church of the Jedi and friend were out practicing with his light saber when all of a sudden an intoxicated man yelling “Darth Vader” busted in on the function and started tearing up the place!

Some things are just too strange to make up…

– from