August 2004 Reader Challenge Winners

Congratulations to Erik Schroeder of Wausau, Wisconsin, whose correct answer to the August Reader Challenge wins first prize, a copy of Windows Server Undocumented Solutions: Beyond the Knowledge Base, by Serdar Yegulalp (McGraw-Hill Publishing). Second prize goes to Gregory Bryan of London, England, who wins a copy of my book, Home Networking for Dummies, Second Edition (Wiley Publishing). Visit to read the answer to the August Reader Challenge.

September 2004 Reader Challenge

Solve this month's Windows Client challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to by September 30, 2004. You must include your full name, and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win).

I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for a receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on October 1, 2004.

The September 2004 Challenge:

Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) does more than plug security holes; it also adds a number of new security features. One of the more welcome features is a better firewall. Test your knowledge of security functions with this month's challenge.

Question 1
True or False: You can mix the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) standards on the same network.

Question 2
What function does a firewall's ability to support stateful inspection provide? (Provide a brief, summary explanation.)

Question 3
True or False: If the computers on your network are connected to a router and the router has a firewall, the computers are protected. If the computers are connected to a hub or switch, which is, in turn, connected to the router, the computers aren't protected and you must install a software firewall on each computer.

Answers to the September 2004 Challenge:

Question 1
True, you can mix WEP and WPA on a network, as long as you update the firmware of your access points (APs) to support WPA (or purchase new APs). Features unique to WPA are ignored by WEP-enabled NICs. This feature lets you accomplish the switch-over to WPA gradually.

Question 2
Stateful inspection is the ability to look at the content of a data packet in addition to examining the header. For example, if a data packet identifies itself as containing HTTP but carries malicious code (not HTTP), the firewall will block the transmission. Without stateful inspection, a firewall only checks the type of transmission and doesn't check the content to make sure it matches its advertised data type.

Question 3
False. The router's firewall blocks suspicious transmissions right at the firewall (the gateway to the Internet) and prevents any data packet from traveling past the firewall to any connected device.