Home wireless security questions

February 21, 2010 at 13:21:21
Specs: Windows Vista
#1 can a hacker get to your pc if it is turned off? #2 can hackers go through a wireless printer that is always on? #3 I have been having alot of files say corruption and unreadable since I put service pak 2 on dont know if thats why or could it be a hacker? Also my network internet keps going back and forth from privite to indentifying on going off and on. Is that a hacker etc. I have vista home premium 32 bit Please help I also need to recover my file that had ALL my business and info in that says unreadable and it was fine 2 days ago!!!! URGENT

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February 21, 2010 at 13:32:50
If a PC is "off" then no-one can access its contents....; unless you leave it set to wake-on-lan and in effect standby mode?

If you set a wifi router up correctly - as in use mac filtering; hide (do not broadcast the real SSID); use encryption (64 or 128bit), then unless a given hacker is really serious (and possibly has a Kray or similar...) it is unlikely tthey will get through? However if use any of the more commonly used passwords as the encryption key then it is remotely possible that a hacker (a good one...) may discover what it is and maybe gain some access to the wifi. But still if you are using mac-filtering as well then again I don't think (s)he will get any futher - at least not into your system...

You "may" have acquired a nasty/malwar pest that is giving yoiu grief?

Have you run a full virus scan (and with system retore disabled until its completed)? And ,maybe boot with a Knoppix or Ubuntu disk and do an on-line free Housecall scan via Trend.com. EVen do it from teh boot OS too - but via Knoppis/Ubuntu may be better?

Also have you run a fule scandisk/ chkdisk on your drive; and maybe the utils to same end etc. from the drive's manufacturer?

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February 21, 2010 at 13:46:10
Sorry Im self taught and some of this is still greek to me!
The mac-filtering is that for mac only? I have a dell.
Also I have ran a full scan by malware and Noton360 which I have as my security and nothing there! I have my back up off does that also includ the system restore?? Should I do a system restore to retrieve my files? They are only in my documents and no where else that I can find. If my wireless printer stays on when my laptop is off can anyone get in that way??

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February 21, 2010 at 15:38:43
MAC = MediaAccessControl (as I recall rather badly...) Each network device has a unique (well almost unique) address.

In any wifi router there is an option to restrict access to that router (via wifi) to any of the MAC addreses listed in its "allow only these to connect" (or something similar); and there is also a list that "excludes" those on "that" list. IT is often known as MAC filtering... One filters out all network devices except those you are willing to allow - by using their MAC address as the identifier...

There are various ways to discover what MAC addresses are on your network items; and this introduction/tutorial will explain further:


DO "NOT" go anywhere near system restore... Do so and you "WILL" lose all data... System restore (usually via a hidden partition on the drive, or via a recovery/restore set of disks put the given PC/laptop back to factory-gate/delivery state... Thus all your data is lost....

I would first get a Knoppix or Ubuntu disk as I suggested earlier; boot up with that and do an on-line freebie Housecall scan.

Also while still booted up... copy all data folders to optical media - regardless of whether or not you can actually access/open any of them.

Then get the utilities to test your drive from the drive's manufacturer's web-site; download and run them; do a "full" check/test of the drive; and allow it to fix anything it finds that needs it...

If you know how... disable wifi aspect of your router and use the cat-5 (hardwire) connections. This especially while scanning etc. ;and keep an eye open to see if it still goes on/off etc.? Intermittent wifi can be a fault with the wifi device (your router in this case); can be a fault with wifi NIC (NetworkInterface card/device).

Wifi devices are not known for as solid a performance/reliability as cat-5 hardwire devices overall; but for the most part they are usually OK/reliable... If the service still goes on/off with wifi disabled.. I'd be looking at both the router itself and also the dsl connection... Either or both may be at fault; and it is often a surprise to some folks just how often the problems lie with isp...; and equally with "some" routers. If using phone-line for your isp/dsl/broadband service then get it checked; likewise if cable then similarly? Although generally I have heard fewer gripes/complaints re's cable service dsl/broadband than with phone-line (aka copper)...

Do not write to, or otherwise tweak the drive as is; do so and you may make the current situation worse re' data...

Incidentally as you have two issues here - the drive and file corruption is one; and wifi/networking the other..., you almost need to post a question in the Vista forum too. I suggest you post a brief outline there of your current situation - possible cross pollination/contamination of your system due to possible hacking, and possible data corruption etc.? Mention the wifi and hacking concerns there only briefly but include a link to this post to indicate you have two issues; and are concerned about them as likely/possibly related:

The url for this post is:


and you simply copy/paste that into your Vista post...

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