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Is there any way to add extra security to a WiFi hotspot created by an Android phone?

I am using a Samsung GT-S5300 with Android 2.3.6, and I am using the WiFi hotspot feature at home since Telkom doesn't offer ADSL in my area anymore.

I need to be able to limit access to the hotspot to mine and my wife's laptops as WPA can be cracked very easily and I cannot see if someone has tried to crack it.

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2 Answers 2

If your device is rooted, you could give Wireless Tether for Root Users a try. According to an article on e-how.com, this app also features a mac-filter, allowing you to exactly define which devices are permitted on your hotspot:

Wireless Tether provides WPA encryption, the latest wireless security standard, and allows for MAC address filtering, letting you screen devices without having to constantly monitor your phone.

(EDIT: According to the app's own description, WPA/WPA2 is available on supported devices only, whatever those "supported devices" may be)

For the default hotspot shipping with Android, you might want to star this issue at google code, which requests exactly the feature you are looking for (mac filtering).

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@Izzy Thanks for the linky to google code, starred! :) –  t0mm13b Dec 23 '12 at 17:34
    
@t0mm13b Yepp! I wonder why they didn't put that already. To me, MAC filtering is one of the basic features a hotspot should provide. I also wonder why this already 1-year-old ticket got only one star so far. Woops! Should upvote the question for that! (Done) –  Izzy Dec 23 '12 at 17:36
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Anyone who has captured the packets required to brute-force WPA2 CCMP (or even crack WEP) already has the MAC addresses of your clients, and can just spoof one of them. MAC access lists may be useful on an open (i.e., no encryption) access point to deny a few bad but unsophisticated users, but it wouldn't seem to add anything for an AP with encryption enabled. –  derobert Dec 27 '12 at 20:57

From what I understand - If you use a strong password in either wpa-psk or wpa2-psk it's more or less "unbreakable". Even if you use a legacy cipher like TKIP you still need to intercept the 4 way handshake to get the authentication packets. When you gotten that, then the hashed string need to be brute forced.

Android hotspots running wpa2-psk will use the AES cipher by default unless told otherwise by the device requesting access. So as long as you force both of your computers to run AES and pick a strong password. You shouldn't worry about the neighbours cracking your WIFI ;)

Recommendations regarding the password:

  1. Don't use any words that can be found in a dictionary
  2. Mix Letters, Capitol Letter, Numbers, !"#¤%&/()=?@£$€[]{} (The more randomness the better)
  3. The length of password should probably be at least 10 characters long, if you follow the advice above then the longer the better :)

Newer android phones can filter by MAC and hide the SSID (My Samsung Galaxy SIII can) - But that's more or less security by obscurity with the tools out there today. Basic sniffing tools can find hidden networks and MAC addresses can easily be spoofed :/

Toms Hardware did an article about it last year, Link to article - They show CPU and GPU based cracking, the later is the de facto standard these days.

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