Mike Thoene


Find all the people who are using your wireless network

by on Jan.22, 2010, under Networking, Security, Software

ZamZom ScreenshotThere is a nifty little application floating around the web called ZamZom. It’s a nice and simple lightweight application that can see everyone that is using your network, both wired and wireless. The free version sadly does not show any computer names, so it is rather difficult to tell who exactly is using your network. It is $12.50 to upgrade to the full version which will show each computer’s name that is on the network.

If you live in a very rural area, then obviously this isn’t for you unless you think some crazy guy is living under a rock near your house, but if you are that worried about it then you should probably hire some sort of private investigator.

If you live in an apartment complex, then you should probably check this out! Even with security measures and passwords in place, you never know who might be connected to your network! It’s worth checking out, because obviously you don’t want your profiles stolen with contact information or more!

As you can see from the screenshot on the left, it shows both my router and my iPhone as the only connected devices on my network, which is just how it should be. I only know what these two devices are because I assigned them their IP Addresses manually, and also I know their MAC Addresses as well. If you see something in this list that you don’t recognize, you are unsecured and should change your security practices with your router quickly!

The software states on their website that it only works with Windows Vista, but apparently they have not updated their website since Windows 7 was released. It works just fine with Windows 7, but I could not get it to work correctly with Windows XP. It installed just fine, but it would not show any output while scanning (in XP).

ZamZom Homepage
Direct Download

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Wireless networks, stop those thieving, hacking neighbors!

by on Jan.04, 2010, under Networking, Security

Starting this one off with a quick question: Are you on a wireless network, in your own home?

If you are, then you should probably stick around because you might not actually be the only one using your wireless network. A long time ago, before I decided to actually learn how a router worked and what exactly it was, my wireless network was 100% open. Anyone could join on and view what files I was sharing, anyone could use my internet and steal all of my bandwidth, but I never even thought twice about it, until it happened.

One fine faithful day I woke up to see random files of my neighbors in my My Pictures folder! Now.. that was kind of spooky because that means they got confused and accidentally put their pictures onto my computer. I don’t know what they were doing in there in the first place, but I knew that I didn’t want them in there ever again. This is when I began learning how to secure a network as tight as Fort Knox, well, at least kind of.

Lot’s of times third party firewalls like Comodo like to know what to allow and what to block when you first start up the software. That’s great and all, but when you chose “Allow Home Network” or whatever the case may be, if someone happens to drive by your apartment and notice your connection unsecured, then you are technically allowing that random person into your computer!

The step that I found to be the absolute best is “MAC Address Filtering”. A MAC address is the physical address of your computers network card. Every single device that has the possibility of connecting to the internet has a MAC address. Everything from a laptop, to an iPhone, to a Nintendo DSi. You can think of a MAC address as a fingerprint that is unique to your computer.

Most routers come with the option to allow only a specified list of MAC addresses, and that’s a good thing. Consult your routers user manual, or maybe look it up online if that is easier for you. By default this feature is disabled, because it takes a few extra steps in order to actually get it working correctly, and every time a new ‘trusted’ user comes to your home you need to add their MAC address to the list of allowed clients.

For most devices it is pretty easy, just navigate to the “About” section of the device (or similar) and find something that has to do with Network Connections. The MAC address can also sometimes be called a “Physical” address, or even a “hardware” address; it all really depends on what the developer of the product described it as.

On a PC it might seem difficult to find, but really it only takes a few steps:

  1. Open the Start Menu
  2. Click on ‘Run..’
  3. In the dialog box, type ‘cmd’
  4. A black box will pop up, in this box type ‘ipconfig /all’

After you get those quick steps out of the way, look for your network adapter, then right underneath it’s description it will say “Phsyical Address”. All of those numbers and letters jumbled up is your MAC address, and this is what you would put into the MAC filtering section of your wireless router. In the MAC filtering section of your router, you are going to want to type it out without any dashes or colons unless the router specifys that you have to, so this would work just fine: 0018F3C3A5B9. Or, you can type 00:18:F3:C3:A5:B9.

After you enabled this, you can enable WPA security keys but at this point it might seem trivial to do so, if you already have it enabled that’s fine, you can leave it enabled if you want, but you will always know that you have the added security of a pseudo-fingerprint from your device or computer.

So what about you? I know for a fact I have this, and I have almost 30 devices in my list of allowed.. how many do YOU have? Or even, how many WOULD you have?

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