Monday, December 19, 2011

I didn’t know it did that

I recently received an update to my Windows Phone 7. I am now at OS version 7.10.7720.68 but discovered something interesting about this update.

 

Wireless connectivity is bad and evil because it is insecure no matter what you do. The best you can do, if you REALLY need it, is to make sure that it is as secure as possible. One of the ways that you improve the security of your wireless networks is to use an Access Control List (ACL). In the case of WiFi you control connection to your Access Point by restricting which network cards can attach to the Access Point. You do this by using the ‘unqiue’ Media Access Control (MAC) address of your device’s network card in your Access Point and preventing access for all other devices that don’t have a matching MAC address. Here’s how you do it with Netgear:

 

http://support.netgear.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/13112/~/securing-your-wireless-network%3A-access-control-list

 

Thus, you enter a list of device MAC addresses you want to attach to you Access Point and deny everything else. If the network card attaching to the Access Point doesn’t match something in the list it can’t connect to your WiFi.

 

Not 100% fool proof but an additional way that you can make it more difficult for people to break into your WiFi. I have this enabled and have a list of all my devices in the WiFi Access Point so they can connect. Well, they could until recently. My Windows Phone 7 would see the WiFi but wouldn’t connect. What the hell? I retyped the details and tried again, still no go. Hmmm…

 

Then the Eureka moment! I had recently upgrade my Windows Phone 7 firmware and guess what? It had a new MAC address for the WiFi connector. Interesting. When I updated my WiFi Access Point with this new address it could connect again.

 

I am still puzzled why the MAC address of a Windows Phone 7 WiFi adapter would change during a software update? It doesn’t really matter, just have to make sure I remember that the next time my Windows Phone 7 updates. Strange I can’t remember my iPad 2 doing that when it was upgraded to iOS5 recently.