Open Media Boston

metro news from the ground up


I just read Jesse Kirdahy-Scalia's investigative report on Verizon and its use of WEP to "secure" home wireless networks. BRILLIANT! I am a Verizon customer with just the Actiontech wireless router mentioned in the article, using WEB, and now I am worried. I called Verizon myself and have been reassured that my sysyem is "secure enough." When I asked support "What does that mean 'secure enough'? And what happens if my neighbor or some driver-by hacks my IP address and downloads child pornography with it?" His response was, "Does anybody hate you that much?" "Hello," I said,"now I won't know that until someone does it, will I?"

Granted, I am really not concerned about my neighbor downloading kiddy porn. She is 86 and doesn't even like kids. But I am concerned about the security of my wireless network. I just received a new Actiontech router from Verizon to replace the old one that burned out and my question is will it enable me to use WPA or WPA2 instead of WEP, and how do I go about setting it up? I was told in a second call to Verizon that "Verizon doesn't support WPA" whatever that means.

Thank you for this terrific article, and I especially enjoyed hearing the recordings. What a great idea to enable OMB readers to hear the exchanges.

JEMS who remains
Sheepless in Seattle...

Yes, for some reason Verizon will not help customers set up a WPA or WPA2 encrypted network. In a followup email, I asked them to comment on this, but received no response. If you're concerned about your network's security and want support from Verizon, let them know. They probably won't change their policies until they hear their customers demand they pay greater attention to security.

To set up your Verizon-provided router with a more secure specification, visit in your browser, enter your username and password (probably either "admin" / "password" or "admin" / "password1" if Verizon techs set it up for you), and click the wireless tab up top. From there, click advanced setup on the left and choose WPA2. Make sure you set a long, randomly generated password.

Read Open Media Boston's guide to securing your wireless network for a more comprehensive review of wireless security issues.

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