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mac address filtering vs ip address fltering

This is a discussion on mac address filtering vs ip address fltering within the Security and Firewalls forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. Which is more secure? Thanks dps

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Old 04-30-2005, 03:55 PM   #1
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Which is more secure?

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Old 04-30-2005, 05:37 PM   #2
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Neither is secure at all. Here's some info and a link for more reading.

If you really want true WiFi security, the only option today is WPA-PSK with a long and random key, it's quite effective.

MAC filtering: This is like handing a security guard a pad of paper with a list of names. Then when someone comes up to the door and wants entry, the security guard looks at the person's name tag and compares it to his list of names and determines whether to open the door or not. Do you see a problem here? All someone needs to do is watch an authorized person go in and forge a name tag with that person’s name. The comparison to a wireless LAN here is that the name tag is the MAC address. The MAC address is just a 12 digit long HEX number that can be viewed in clear text with a sniffer. A sniffer to a hacker is like a hammer to a carpenter except the sniffer is free. Once the MAC address is seen in the clear, it takes about 10 seconds to cut-paste a legitimate MAC address in to the wireless Ethernet adapter settings and the whole scheme is defeated. MAC filtering is absolutely worthless since it is one of the easiest schemes to attack. The shocking thing is that so many large organizations still waste the time to implement these things. The bottom line is, MAC filtering takes the most effort to manage with zero ROI (return on investment) in terms of security gain.

SSID hiding: There is no such thing as "SSID hiding". You're only hiding SSID beckoning on the Access Point. There are 4 other mechanisms that also broadcast the SSID over the 2.4 or 5 GHz spectrum. The 4 mechanisms are; probe requests, probe responses, association requests , and re-association requests. Essentially, you re talking about hiding 1 of 5 SSID broadcast mechanisms. Nothing is hidden and all you ve achieved is cause problems for Wi-Fi roaming when a client jumps from AP to AP. Hidden SSIDs also makes wireless LANs less user friendly. You don't need to take my word for it. Just ask Robert Moskowitz who is the Senior Technical Director of ICSA Labs in his white paper Debunking the myth of SSID hiding.

Disable DHCP: This is much more of waste of time than it is a security break. DHCP allows the automatic assignment of IP addresses and other configurations. Disabling DHCP has zero security value and just wastes time. It would take a hacker about 10 seconds to figure out the IP scheme of any network and simply assign their own IP address. Anyone who tells you that this is a way to secure your wireless LAN doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

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