Tag: wireless

Kismet Drones

This Kismet tutorial provides a basic framework for using Kismet drones.
Kismet is an 802.11 wireless network detector, sniffer, and intrusion
detection system. Kismet will work with any wireless card which
supports raw monitoring mode, and can sniff 802.11b, 802.11a, 802.11g,
and 802.11n traffic (devices and drivers permitting).

Kismet also sports a plugin architecture allowing for additional
non-802.11 protocols to be decoded.

Kismet identifies networks by passively collecting packets and detecting
networks, which allows it to detect (and given time, expose the names
of) hidden networks and the presence of non-beaconing networks via data

Kismet Drones are designed to turn Kismet into a distributed IDS system.
Drones support all of the capture methods Kismet normally supports,
including multiple capture devices per drone. Drones capture wireless
data and forward to a Kismet server over a secondary connection (ie,
wired Ethernet). Drones do not do any decoding of packets and have
minimal hardware requirements.

A Kismet server connects to the drones and will provide a single Kismet
UI display, packet dump, and alert generation point. Capture sources on
remote Kismet drones are forwarded to the Kismet server and appear as
independent capture devices which can be configured for channel hopping,
locking, etc.

Using the tun/tap export function, the central Kismet server can export
the packets from all attached drones to a virtual network interface for
use with external IDS/packet capture systems (such as Snort).

To start using Drones, launch the kismet_drone process on a remote
system (editing the kismet_drone.conf file to control what hosts are
allowed to connect) or turn on drone capabilities in the Kismet server
(by enabling the drone config options in kismet_server.conf). When
running a kismet_server instance as a drone, local logging will act as
usual and Kismet clients can be connected to the server as normal; When
running kismet_drone, Kismet clients cannot connect directly to it, and
it will not log, a Kismet server instance must be started to provide
packet decoding, logging, and Kismet UI connectivity.

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What is So Fascinating About a Wireless Security Camera System?

By Singgih Tri Widodo

From the installation and use, lies in the simplicity and beauty that has a wireless security camera system. With this camera you can send pictures or videos directly to the recipient that the cord is connected to your computer or television. This is a wise way to watch someone who you think is suspect or your goods.

You do not need to buy goods with a very high price for it, and then you get someone else to arrange it. It is not necessary. For that, you should need is some good camera and handy with a computer software and stable, it makes you more calm and comfortable.

Wireless camera – Take a picture

You have the freedom to choose different types of cameras you want to build your own surveillance. You can have 4 to 30 cameras, you want at will. If you want to do off-site supervision, you need to put the camera in certain places. For example pages, swimming pool, main entrance, backyard, etc..

A good outdoor camera should be weather resistant, and must also have night vision. While which indoor surveillance cameras, was far too difficult for a computer or using a simple camera eye to eye. This camera is easily disguised so as not to be seen and caught.

Tips for buying a camera

I suggest before you make a purchase, make sure you check the camera so that the signal coverage to ensure you receive a picture can clearly. It may need a powerful transmitter.

To create a data input, choose the camera to perform voice or movement, and he will activated own end at the appointed hour through the scheme

Recipients / Receiver

Wireless camera basically sending videos and pictures through walls which can achieve distances up to 300 feet 10 miles. By your camera, you will only need can to get a DVR receiver that is used to retrieve the signal is transferred through the camera. The recipient is the most important part of your camera system, without it you can not do anything and can not receive video images you capture which.

This hardware is easy once you plug in the computer or television or wherever you want to install to see it. Usually the camera is equipped with DVR card is which their own and it can directly broadcast to the Internet. But you can buy the device separately at your nearest store shops.


Data you have on your camera you should keep it safe. You must put the camera in a different place, which surely will make the full leap camera memory. You must buy a separate memory was of about 1 TB hard drive or you need to hire another online server to store your video data. And of course you should regularly monitor your data.


You must have the software to monitor the camera. Maybe you can using a Mac, Windows, Linux, or others. This can help you to monitor, transfer, and store your data. You can see it on the laptop, or phone, or even equivalent to a simple desktop.

For more information see Wireless Security Camera System

Singgih Tri Widodo comes from Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia. has written several articles on Motorcycle and Camera. You may want to check out other guide on Motorcycle Link tips, and Camera Link guide!

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Kismet is a network detector, packet sniffer, and intrusion detection system for 802.11 wireless LANs. Kismet will work with any wireless card which supports raw monitoring mode, and can sniff 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g traffic. The program runs under Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, and Mac OS X. The client can also run on Microsoft Windows, although, aside from external drones, there’s only one supported wireless hardware available as packet source.


Kismet-2.7.1 Screenshot

Distributed under the GNU General Public License, Kismet is free software.

Kismet is unlike most other wireless network detectors in that it works passively. This means that without sending any loggable packets, it is able to detect the presence of both wireless access points and wireless clients, and associate them with each other.

Kismet also includes basic wireless IDS features such as detecting active wireless sniffing programs including NetStumbler, as well as a number of wireless network attacks.

Kismet has the ability to log all sniffed packets and save them in a tcpdump/Wireshark or Airsnort compatible fileformat.

To find as many networks as possible, kismet supports channelhopping. This means that it constantly changes from channel to channel non-sequentially, in a user-defined sequence with a default value that leaves big holes between channels (for example 1-6-11-2-7-12-3-8-13-4-9-14-5-10). The advantage with this method is that it will capture more packets because adjacent channels overlap.

Kismet also supports logging of the geographical coordinates of the network if the input from a GPS receiver is additionally available.

Kismet has three separate parts. A drone can be used to collect packets, and then pass them on to a server for interpretation. A server can either be used in conjunction with a drone, or on its own, interpreting packet data, and extrapolating wireless information, and organizing it. The client communicates with the server and displays the information the server collects.

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Top 10 Tips to Using Public Wi-Fi Hotspots Safely
By Bethany Payne

Ahh, the joy of portable computers. Being able to grab a coffee, fancy pastry and sit down in a comfortable environment, and take in the energy of the others around you while getting some work done. Or getting some tasks completing while you are waiting at the airport. Great scenario, but most work these days involves connecting to the internet, and how can you do that safely using public wi-fi? With a bit of preparation and wireless security smarts, you can get quite a bit of work done at that coffee-shop or airport.

  1. Be Smart

    Do not access sites that concern your online banking, investments, or private activities that you might not want others knowing about when you are using Wi-Fi in a public location. Thieves can easily sniff and see all data sent back and forth from your computer through the internet.

  2. Be Aware of Low-Tech Thievery

    Be conscious of your surroundings. Shoulder-snoopers can see the sites you are accessing and maybe copy down your password. They may later contact you with enough information to bait you into giving them more.

  3. Use a Firewall

    Make sure you have your Windows firewall active or that of another company installed and active, such as Norton or Panda, especially when you have wifi security concerns.

  4. Watch for an Evil Twin Attack

    Be certain that the wi-fi you are connecting to is the legitimate one for that spot. An internet criminal may set up one that has a name very similar to the hotspot, and you may connect to theirs by mistake. Get the correct name for the true connection at that location as an initial step to protect your wireless internet security.

  5. Use Secure Email

    When accessing your email, contact your ISP for their secure address. It should begin with “https:”, not just “http:”. This means that the site is using an SSL certificate so that the connection is more secure, and the information is also encrypted so sniffers cannot see the real data being transmitted. Be careful that the “https:” stays in the browser address bar throughout your whole email session. Some revert back to “http:” after you log in.

  6. Delete Your Cookies

    Cookies make it easier to log in to your frequently visited sites by remembering your username and password for you, however, if you connect to these sites when using public wi-fi, sniffers can get your cookie info. Delete your cookies before you connect to the internet at a hotspot.

  7. Turn off the Ad-Hoc Networking

    This should already be disabled with most default Windows XP and Vista installations, but you should check anyway. Ad-hoc networking allows two computers to communicate directly with one another, without an access point between. Obviously not a good idea to allow in public. Be certain you are using infrastructure mode, which requires an access point.

  8. Do Not Allow Your Computer to Connect Automatically

    After you have connected to a wireless connection once, your laptop probably sets your network setup to automatically connect when you are in range again. Check on the properties of each connection when managing wireless connections, and do not allow your computer to automatically connect to networks. Although it may take you more time to get a connection, it gives you more control and awareness over your internet connections.

  9. Disable Printer and File Sharing

    If you are used to sharing printing and files at home or work, be sure to disable this feature before connecting at a public wi-fi spot. Certainly don’t want to share with others there.

  10. Connect More Securely

    There are a couple of options here. One is to get a wireless access card, so you don’t need to use public wi-fi. This is an expensive option, but if you travel a lot and need internet access out of the office, it might be the way to go. It’s a card you buy from a cell phone provider, insert into your laptop, and connect through that cell phone company’s data connection. A large part of the cost is the monthly fee.
    Amother solution is to use a VPN Tunnel. If you are working for a large company, you probably connect through their Virtual Private Network (VPN). This is a secure, encrypted connection and is a good way to go when connecting to the internet through a public access point. You can also set up your own VPN, between your home desktop and your laptop. Your desktop would have to be connected to the internet through a cable and be on and connected when you want to get online with your laptop. If you’re interested, do an internet search for how to set up a XP VPN.

In conclusion, public wi-fi connections are convenient, but be smart before you connect. Be aware of your surroundings and what data you are sending and receiving. Save the transactions that you wouldn’t want to be viewed by strangers for when you have a more secure connection.

For more great tips on using the internet and computers, including how to speed up your computer, come visit me, Bethany, at http://askgeekgirl.com/

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Wardriving – The Same Old Song and Dance
By D Grady

It seems like its been forever since wardriving was used to map out the neighborhood wifi scene. I remember when statistics about mass wireless networks first started to emerge. I remember building antennas out of soup cans and a wire coat hanger. I remember having to build GPS drivers from source so Kismet could include coordinates in its output. I even remember cracking my first WEP network – it took me the better part of a week. It all seems like ancient history now.

If that was forever ago, we must have come up with some new way to secure wireless networks. We must all be running high-end encryption and have everything locked down right from the factory. After all, wireless vendors know what can be done with a laptop and some free wireless utilities. Even non-techies can tell you the dangers of WEP and running default networks. If that’s true – wardriving would probably be a waste of time these days. That’s what I thought about one weekend, so I set out to get a glimpse on the current state of wireless security.

I grabbed my Eee PC, fired up Kismet, hopped in the Jeep, and tore off across the countryside. After an hour of driving through the little beach town I live in, I had collected information on about 900 unique networks. Once I got back to the house, I fired up a shell and got to work analyzing the data. The spread of open, WEP, and WPA encrypted networks surprised me. I didn’t think I would find almost 300 open networks in this little town. Add in the 345 WEP protected networks, and that’s about 70% of total networks either completely open or protected with exceedingly crackable encryption.

Next, I did analysis on the SSID’s (the name of the network). This was also pretty interesting. Almost 10% of all networks had ‘linksys’ as their SSID. If they didn’t change the default SSID, I can imagine they changed little else. A number of the networks had personal names as their SSID’s (identity theft waiting to happen?). A few more had their street addresses as the network name. Some of the apartments and condos even had their apartment number worked in somehow.

Another interesting thing I noticed was wireless used by businesses. Digging through the raw output – I came across a lot of networks with familiar names because they belonged to businesses in town. A large CNC and prototyping shop in town had an open wifi network. A few other smaller businesses had wireless networks with their name on it. I also came across a large amount of hidden networks when I drove through industrial areas – I can only assume that some more prodding would produce more business networks. The biggest shock to me was the local police station running WEP! At least if I ever got arrested I could email someone for bail money.

It appears it’s the same old sad state of wireless security out there. I don’t expect general consumers to fret over the differences between WPA1 and WPA2, or how much overhead AES encryption has – but I expect businesses to know their risk. They should invest in a wireless penetration test or wireless security audit if they intend on rolling out wireless. Hire a professional to assess your physical surroundings for existing wireless networks you may not know about, and then have them help plan out implementation strategies with you. Wireless can be a great way to get some freedom from traditional networks, but all that freedom can come at paralyzing costs. A little planning and research can help slim down attack surfaces, and can help make casual wardriving a thing of the past.

Redspin’s cost effective penetration testing services utilize the latest technology. http://www.redspin.com

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Wireless Linux: Using the Linux Wireless ToolBox
By Eric Meyer

First thing you need to do is purchase a wireless adapter card with a prism2 chipset. Just go to google and type in linux wireless adapters and track one down.

If you are using a fairly good wireless distro it should pick up the card automatically.

Ok, Now you have the card now what, you plugged it in and look to the bottom write where the Windows XP wireless Icon usually is and find nothing.

There is no Zero config utility with linux, but they do have built in tools to help connect to wireless networks.

Now you need to find the Command line terminal, it usually looks like a window with a shell because it is a shell.

Now let’s test to see if you have your card working. Type in iwlist at the command prompt. If it doesn’t let you, then you might have enter administrator mode.

You can enter administrator mode by typing su at the command prompt. Then you will be asked for the administrator password.

Now type in iwlist at the command prompt. This will give you a ton of tools to work with. Once you have typed in iwlist and nothing happens then you probably don’t have the right card or it’s configured wrong.

Check and make sure you don’t have any other wireless network adapters active and disable them if they are. Also make sure that your wireless adapter is set to start up at boot time. You need to look for your system utilities area..it’s like the Microsoft control panel called Yast.

By the way your wireless adapter should be named wlan0

The iwlist command will give a list of options that look like this:
usage: iwlist [interface] scanning

[interface] frequency

[interface] channel

[interface] bitrate

[interface] rate

[interface] encryption

[interface] key

[interface] power

[interface] txpower

[interface] retry

[interface] ap

[interface] accesspoints

[interface] peers

[interface] event

All of these options can give you various detailed information about surrounding wireless networks.

If you type in iwist scanning it will give a out of all wireless networks available to you with an output like this:

wlan0 Scan completed :

Cell 01 – Address: 00:14:BF:75:31:FD



Frequency:2.462 GHz (Channel 11)

Quality:2/94 Signal level:-84 dBm Noise level:-154 dBm

Encryption key:on

Bit Rate:1 Mb/s

Bit Rate:2 Mb/s

Bit Rate:5.5 Mb/s

Bit Rate:11 Mb/s

Bit Rate:18 Mb/s

Bit Rate:24 Mb/s

Bit Rate:36 Mb/s

Bit Rate:54 Mb/s

Bit Rate:6 Mb/s

Bit Rate:9 Mb/s

Bit Rate:12 Mb/s

Bit Rate:48 Mb/s


This gives you the Network Name, MAC address, Frequency, encryption and much more. This information can be used to join your preferred network.

If you are monitoring certain access point you can type in iwlist accesspoints and get the listing of each nearby access point with the MAC address.

Once you have located the access point you want to connect with it’ time to start using another command called iwconfig.

iwconfig is used to configure your wireless adapter so you can connect it to your preferred network. You can configure every thing from the ESSID to the transmit power of your wireless adapter.


iwconfig [interface]

iwconfig interface [essid X] [nwid N] [freq F] [channel C]

[sens S] [mode M] [ap A] [nick NN]

[rate R] [rts RT] [frag FT] [txpower T]

[enc E] [key K] [power P] [retry R]


The syntax for using the iwconfig command is: iwconfig (interface name) then what ever you want to configure. So if you want to configure the ESSID you would type iwconfig wlan0 essid “network name”.

Now that you know that the tools are there go to work!!!

Learn everything you could ever want to know about wireless networking technology at http://www.wirelessninja.com Learn how to prevent hackers from exploiting your wireless network. Also learn how to prevent the most dangerous computer threat, social engineering.

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Is Microwave the Future of WiFi?

Is Microwave the Future of WiFi?
By Sandy Cosser

WiMax (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) isn’t new technology (the WiMax forum was created in 2001 to promote the standard), but it’s only recently that it has made people sit up and pay greater attention. 180px-WiMAX_equipmentAccording to Robert Morrow, a retired Air Force Academy electrical engineering professor, WiFi and cellular data are on the way out because the future belongs to WiMax. There are others, however, who are not quite as glowing in their praise of the emerging WiMax technology, and who believe that it will prove too expensive to have any real practical value.

In an article for LiveScience, Morrow explains why he believes WiMax is the way of the future. Even though WiMax will not be free, as WiFi is, it offers uninterrupted service. Its reach is longer than WiFi’s (several kilometres as opposed to several metres) and its signal is stronger, although this is dependent on the distance from base station antennaes. In theory, users should be able to stay connected online all the way across the United States without losing signal once, a feat which is currently impossible even with mobile phone technology. This is because WiMax is compatible with a range of digital cellular service providers, and not just with one or two.

While WiMax doesn’t currently enjoy wide spread use, Morrow believes that within the next 2-5 years it will be commonplace in all major US cities, and that in 5 years time, it will be sold with all laptops, or none of them. Which seems rather contradictory, but he says that WiMax’s ultimate success will depend on how quickly laptop vendors will add WiMax modems to their products.

David Jarvis, a South African telecoms entrepreneur, is one those people who still believes in the power of WiFi. At the 2007 WiWorld Conference, Jarvis said that WiFi is still a more affordable alternative to WiMax. According to Jarvis, a WiMax base stations costs around $35,000 (£17,703) to build, while a WiFi station costs a mere $2,500 (£1,264). The CPE price of WiFi is also lower, $250 (£126) vs. $350 (£177) for WiMax. Other factors favouring WiFi include its already widespread adoption and the fact that it’s available in commonly used wireless devices.

The Wireless Access Providers’ Association of South Africa (WAPA) has compiled a list of reasons why Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) prefer WiFi, such as the tried and tested capability of WiFi. WiMax has yet to prove itself capable of living up to expectations and to justify the price increase from WiFi. In addition, the use of both technologies in the Far East has shown that WiFi is superior to WiMax as a business model.

Pakistan, however, is throwing its weight behind WiMax, as it has constructed the largest WiMax network in the world. Wateen Telecom, in conjunction with Motorola Hardware, has installed the network across 17 cities in Pakistan.

While the debate between WiMax and WiFi rages on, some experts in the telecoms industry believe that both technologies can exist alongside each other, with each sharing an equal piece of the telecoms pie. They predict that those who are expecting a major battle between the two will be sorely disappointed, as the future is rosy for both of them.

Recommended sites:



Sandra wrote this article for the online marketers Star Business Internet internet service provider and website hosting one of the leading Internet service companies specialising in business website hosting in the UK

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Game Cabinets – A Newcomer’s Guide
By Michael Russell

Tux___Linux_Arcade_Logo_by_Swizzler121-300wGame cabinets are basically cabinets that contain low-end computers and are sometimes painted and decorated to look like real retro arcade machines. The computer is hidden inside the cabinet, opening with a lock and key; if the PC needs to be taken out for some reason. Often a joystick or game pad is firmly attached to the cabinet as controls. But if those are not available, a keyboard or mouse may be used as substitution. A sort of cabinet frame is built around the monitor, which is set slightly deep in the cabinet at an upward angle, to resemble the authenticity of an arcade machine and for easy viewing as well.

The actual computer itself need not have impressive specs or hardware – only the basics will do. Any second-hand computer, or an old one that’s lying around will work. All such a ‘cabinet computer’ needs is:

1) A basic monitor that can fit in the cabinet. (a television can be used for better authenticity)

2) A simple, working keyboard and mouse.

3) Any old processor (even a 166 MHz Intel Centrino Processor would do)

4) A CD-ROM drive to install the operating system.

5) A USB port to transfer files in, or use the CD-ROM Drive.

6) A set of speakers to render the game sounds and music.

7) A 10 or 20 Gigabyte hard disk.

And that’s it – no internet capabilities such as wireless bluetooth, a modem, or ethernet ADSL broadband are needed. After all, did arcades have internet access in those days? ;)

Now on such a computer, a low-end operating system with low system requirements will do, such as Microsoft Windows 98 or Windows Me, or a minimal distribution of Linux (such as Zenwalk). Microsoft no longer supports Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me, so you can either buy a used copy of Windows off eBay or any local computer shop. Old or unused copies of Windows 98/Me should cost around $30 to $50. However, if you want to cut down on expenses, you can download a free Linux distribution from the internet. A few examples of good, minimalistic Linux distributions are Zenwalk, SLAX, Zipslack, or Debian. Read up on them on websites like Distrowatch or Wikipedia to see which one best suits your needs, but Windows is still a safe bet.


Once the machine has been set up with an operating system, you should now load it up with Emulators and ROMS. Emulators are software programs that run ROMS (the arcade games). You need emulators as these games do not run natively on Linux or Windows just like double clicking an EXE file (an executable).

The best known emulator for all sorts of arcade games is known as MAME, which works for both Windows and Linux and ROMS for such games can be searched for on the internet. The ROM file sizes usually aren’t all that big, taking up a few megabytes each. If you want to play laser disc games like Dragon’s Lair, Dragon’s Lair II, Space Ace, etc. you will have to use another emulator known as DAPHNE. Do note that the ROM game files for laser disc games take up a lot of memory, being anywhere from 200 megabytes to 1 gigabyte for each game, so you want to watch your hard disk space there.

When it comes to actually building the game cabinet, you will need plenty of large wood materials and carpentering tools, or you can order such custom parts from companies specialising in selling game cabinet parts, including wooden frames, special televisions, joystick controls and more. You can even buy a complete game cabinet frame plan from them, or order an empty cabinet pre-built, shipped and delivered to you. The second alternative seems to be a cheaper solution instead of buying new materials, but the choice is all yours.

Sites like GroovyGameGear and the BYOAC Wiki can help you out and give you more authentic information and details on how to build your dream game cabinet. So go out there and build your own arcade machine!

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Cabinets

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Wireless Network Security: How to Use Kismet
By Eric Meyer

Kismet is a wireless network detector / sniffer which can give you a vast amount of information about wireless networks. Wireless network security flaws are well documented but often very hard for the common person to understand. I will be showing you how to use kismet with out even having to install Linux, or compile kismet.

First you need to proceed to remote-exploit.org and download and burn their Auditor CD. (IF you don’t know how to burn an ISO image, go to Google). This version of Linux doesn’t install or modify your hard drive; it will boot from the CD and use a Ram Drive (On your Memory).

Auditor is not only a great tool for testing wireless network security with kismet but it also has many other computer security tools on it as well.

Client Window

Next, to start Kismet proceed to the Linux version of the start menu, and press Auditor.
Now proceed to the wireless /scanning/kismet tools/kismet.

Once you click on Kismet it will ask you for a default location to place the Kismet log files for analyzing later, just press the desktop or temp file.

Now I will show you how to use Kismet. When kismet initially opens you will see a greenish box with numbers and 250px-Backtrack_3.0_Finalnetwork names (If any are near you) clicking away don’t be overwhelmed. (Also I can’t show you how to use kismet if you don’t have the correct wireless adapter, get an ORINICO Gold Classic Card off EBAY.) The Orninco gold classic card will be automaticly detected by auditor linux.

The Kismet columns will show the wireless networks SSID (Name), Type of device (Access point, gateway) Encryption or no Encryption, an IP range and number of packets. Kismet will pick up hidden networks with SSID broadcast Disabled also, Netstumbler will not.

Now Press H, to bring up the Help Menu. This will give the nuts and bolts on how to use kismet. If you tab down to the network you are auditing and press “C”, Kismet will show you all the computers that are using that wireless access point / gateway. This Kismet screen will show you the clients MAC address, Manufacture of Wireless Adapter, IP address range and traffic.

Kismet: Help Menue

Now to get out of that screen press “Q”. Tab Down on the Main Kismet Screen to another SSID and press “I”. This Kismet window will show detailed information about the wireless network. The Kismet detail screen will show the type of network (Infrastructrure / Adhoc), signal strength, channel, encryption type, and much more.

Kismet will also give you sound alerts when new wireless networks are discovered or security alerts or suspicious clients are in range. Suspicious clients would be people like you who are using Kismet or Networkstumbler. Unlike you these could be Wardrivers looking for venerable networks to hack into.

Kismet Alert Page

You can prevent War drivers from discovering your wireless network by performing a proper site survey which will 180px-Pentest_1cd_backtrack08help limit signal bleed off to unneeded areas. You should write down the suspicious MAC address and keep an eye on your access logs. If the War Drivers are really stupid just look out your window and look for cars with weird antennas.HA HA HA.

Kismet is more than just a tool to discover wireless networks; it can be used in conjunction with other tools to crack WEP/WPA. Many websites will claim that WEP can be cracked in less that five minutes. This is only half the truth because it could take many hours,days,months to gather enough packets to crack. Good luck and have fun learning the more advanced applications of kismet.

Keep your wireless network simple and secure. Join the most popular wireless networking newsletter on the internet http://www.wirelessninja.com

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I am currently trying to find the best live Linux CD for an old notebook computer I have, a Compaq Presario 1700 XL260. This computer has a 500 MHz Pentium III processor, 192 MB of RAM, and over 5 GB of hard drive space. It looks like it also has a DVD-ROM, two USB ports –One currently used by my mouse, the other buy either a USB memory stick, or a USB wi-fi adapter.
Compaq Presario 1700
Initially I tried to get the PC working with a Linux distro that would allow me to get online wirelessly with my router using that USB wireless-G adapter mentioned earlier. I was pretty sure that I’d have to use a lightweight distro since the dearth of RAM would be probably the biggest limiter in my distro selection choices.

My first try was with …. DSL — Damn Small Linux. dsl-42xWeighing in at 50MB, the highly-regarded, extremely light weight distribution proved to live up to its billing, however it certainly wasn’t as user friendly as I would have liked. It comes with JWM and Fluxbox, no Gnome, or KDE with this one, obviously. One big problem I encountered with this version as I occasionally did with subsequent ones is that getting Linux to talk to a USB wi-fi adapter is much tougher than I would suspect a PCI wi-fi adapter. Not to mention I’m sure all distros will connect to a network with no problem these days using a hard-wired ethernet.

My next Linux distro to try was Puppy Linux, the 100MB powerhouse. This was truly an exciting version to use since it had so many advanced elements for such a small size that it really seemed like that could be a daily user that could keep up with the big fellas in the Linux world. puppy-linux-4-2-was-released-2It was really fast, too, since it booted itself entirely into the minuscule RAM on the computer! The distro ships with JWM / IceWM + ROX Desktop user interfaces for your convenience. So, it’s still a small distro but it has more modern desktop environments than the previously mentioned DSL.

I eventually tested around a dozen distros, and understandably the more “packed-with-features” distros like the Ubuntus and the Arch Linux types were really too much for the mature system. Unfortunately since the system doesn’t have an ethernet port, it really limits the functionality of the networking aspect.

It’s certainly true that there are some modern albeit light-weight distros out there today that can certainly bring life back to this baby. It still has Windows 98se installed on its hard drive, and I certainly wouldn’t consider trying XP but it’s a lot of fun looking at the latest in mini-Linux and seeing what this machine is still capable of.

Buy Linux today

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