Computer-to-computer network--why only WEP?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by proflemon, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. proflemon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #1
    It looks like the Internet Connect function of OS X offers 2 options for encrypting a computer-to-computer network--both of which are WEP. I've read on the forums that WEP is notably inferior to WPA--so why is there no WPA option (or am I overlooking it?)?

    My situation: I'd like to network (wirelessly) 2 Macs that are in the same location. Is creating a computer-to-computer network with WEP the way to go? Does using a VPN make more/less sense for computers in the same location?

    Thanks.
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    Computer-to-computer networking was only ever meant as a temporary connection. I really think you'll have an easier (and more secure) time if you buy a cheap router.

    As for the VPN, what exactly are you wanting it for? :)
     
  3. proflemon thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 3, 2007
    #3
    Gotcha on the WEP. Thanks.

    Me mentioning VPN probably gives the impression that I know what VPN is/does--and I don't.

    My situation...I have 2 Airport-equipped Macs and an Airport Express. I'd like both computers to be able to access files from the other, while both computers are in the same physical location (and I'd like good security). If it's relevant, both computers use the Airport Express for internet access.

    Thanks for you help.
     
  4. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #4
    Okay... So you already have a router. Umm... The Express should be able to use WPA encryption. All you need to then do is enable file sharing on each Mac in System Preferences. It's really about that simple.

    Computer-to-computer networking bypasses a router, so you may as well avoid this option.
     
  5. proflemon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #5
    Thanks for the quick reply--and patience w/ my newbie questions.

    I enabled personal file sharing on both Macs. I'd actually tried that prior to posting, and as happened then, the computers didn't show up in each other's Finder. This time I used Finder's Go --> Connect to Server, then manually typed in the other computer's name.

    As to security...I was already connecting to the Express w/ WPA for internet use, so does that mean accessing one computer from the other is also using WPA via the Express? I'm only giving access to the same computers who have password-protected access to my Express? Any other Personal File Sharing security concerns?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  6. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #6
    Yeah, the WPA encryption will cover file sharing and the internet. It's relevant to anyone trying to access your wireless network.

    As for file sharing... Did you include AFP:// before the name? I know it can sometimes take a little while for the icons to show up in Finder, but using the Go menu like you have should bypass this.
     
  7. TheStu macrumors 65816

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    Location:
    Carlisle, PA
    #7
    Also, are you using 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard on teh systems? I have found that file sharing is 10000x easier in Leopard than it ever was in Tiger.

    Also, both WEP and WPA can apparently be broken in less than 5 minutes given sufficient technical skill. I think it was last year that the FBI demonstrated breaking into WEP in 40 seconds, and WPA in just over 2 minutes.

    Only a disconnected machine is truly safe... and even then it is not.

    I remember a story that I heard once...

    A prestigious banker had just had the computer security at his bank upgraded, and since he like to work from home, had rigorous security placed on his home machine as well. As the technician was finishing up, the banker asked him "How long of a password would you suggest I use?". The tech replied that he should use a 20 character (don't recall the actual number) alpha-numeric password, preferably with lots of non-letter characters (!@#$%^&*()). "However," he added, "Although this is important, if a person really wanted your information, he'll get it." This set the banker aback as he had just spent thousands of dollars ensuring that wouldn't happen. "What on earth do you mean?" he asked. "Well," said the tech, "sure, you have an ultra-secure workstation here, the best that money can buy, and that man can make, however, what if a person came into your home, held a gun to your daughter's head and demanded your password, think he might be able to log in now?"

    "Which daughter?" the banker replied.
     
  8. proflemon thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    #8
    As to mad jews' question...I don't know what "AFP:// before the name" is, so I'm guessing I did not use it.

    As to TheStu's question...I'm using 10.4. That's interesting that 10.5 is smoother at this task. And children as security leaks is noted!

    Thanks for the help. I'll treat Personal File Sharing as equally secure (and therefore equally not secure) as I was already treating my WPA web activity.
     
  9. dgdosen macrumors 65816

    dgdosen

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    Seattle
    #9
    One other thing - Are you on the Internet? Or are you just sharing two pcs? If you're not connected to the Internet, you don't have much to worry about security wise...
     
  10. VideoFreek macrumors 6502

    VideoFreek

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    May 12, 2007
    Location:
    Philly
    #10
    Can you provide a reference on WPA being broken, please? The only demonstrated vulnerability I know of involves cracking WPA-PSK using brute force methods with relatively weak keys (e.g., dictionary words, simple text passwords, etc.). I was under the impression that with strong keys (20+ random alphanumeric characters), WPA/WPA2 were still considered secure.
     
  11. TheStu macrumors 65816

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    #11
    I can't find the article anywhere (it was in a magazine in the networking lab at my school) but another thing I found seems to state that:
    A: 20 character+ alpha-numeric is strong and can last quite some time
    B: WPA2 is much stronger than WPA1
     
  12. Masquerade macrumors 6502a

    Masquerade

    Joined:
    May 16, 2007
    #12
    windows let you choose WPA on Adhoc proprieties pane.
     
  13. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Location:
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    #13

    In the Sharing pane of System Preferences, the file sharing section should tell you what exactly to type in to access the computer you're on.



    Internet security and wireless network security are quite separate, and probably should be treated as such.


    As for WEP and WPA security, sure it's true that both have their limitations. However, I doubt the average user will even have an attempted hack, let alone a successful one. I personally use WEP and have had the same password for three years. To the best of my knowledge I have not been hacked once.
     

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