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  1. #1

    WIFI cards on laptops-- drawbacks?

    I did a quick search on this and didn't see anything so I'm hoping that I'm not duplicating anything.
    I'm netadmin for my company, but not extremely familiar with wireless networking.
    We recently ordered new laptops for two of our field techs. The laptops came with wifi capable cards (Dell TrueMobile 1300 WLAN).
    I've disabled the cards in the system BIOS to prevent the field techs from using them. I'm not sure exactly what the real reason is behind this (my boss requested that I do it), but I've been asked to come up with the cons of having a wireless card enabled on a machine in the event that one of the techs discovers that they have the cards (the BIOS prevents them from making changes without a password, but still allows them to see that there is a card there!) and goes to his boss to complain. Hope that's not too confusing...
    At this point, I've never really thought about this, but it's become very interesting. What sort of security issues would present themselves if a card was enabled on a machine with the default settings? I've done a wee bit of research and really can only think of the fact that the machine would basically log onto any wifi network without encryption enabled that served it an address and leave the user of the laptop liable for damages.
    Our field techs aren't the most knowledgeable fellas, a bit shady and of the blood that they know everything and can do no wrong. There's politic here, but I'm really interested in the technical side of it

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Here's some info by AntiOnline members that could get you started:

    Wardriving - Plastic
    Secure your wireless network - DeadAddict

  3. #3
    They're both really good tutorials, but I was actually interested in the client side portion of wifi-- just having the card enabled.
    As an aside, can the Linksys WRT54G have it's signal strength configured? I was actually looking at buying this model (because you can load a small Linux distro on it!)...

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Ad-Hoc networks

    One issue is that of ad-hoc networks. If users can see and control the wireless card they can also setup ad-hoc networks, for both internal and external computers. So, if they are wired to your network and then have an ad-hoc connection to an external computer ... well ...


    P.S. - Please don't assume that because your field techs are not the most knowledgable that they don't know some of this. Home wireless networks are common and so many folks know something about APs and ad-hoc networks. I know elementary school kids who set up ad-hocs all the time.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Just as a side note to strenghten you arguement I have found that on my Tablet having the WiFi enabled really reduces my battery life, with It disabled i get at least an extra hour out of the battery. That anouther hour in the field your guys can spend...
    I have plent of thought and talent. I just don\'t give a damn

  6. #6
    OldRedFox - Thanks a ton for the info. Ad hocs were something that I didn't know about. My reason for saying that the techs weren't as knowledgeable was to stress the point that they're unintentionally destructive What worries me is that they've eventually going to figure out that they've got cards when they've gone through the BIOS. Then ahma gonna hava soma asplainin' to do...
    tealbambino - That's a key point. Thanks a ton

    AO is awesome. So glad that I found this place. You guys kick ass

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    I wouldn't think that there is anything destructive they could do with just the card installed and enabled. I would assume that there is USB connectivity in the machines, so they could just as easily go buy a 20$ wireless USB adapter and do whatever they wanted to wirelessly. I don't think you are buying yourself anything by disabling the adapter.

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