Wireless Review


Wireless Hacking
The wireless world is big and broad. The wireless networking that we have on our home network access points is the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard, but the term “wireless” encompasses a huge swath of the electromagnetic spectrum, which includes X-rays, light, radio, and other forms of wireless energy. The identification and allocation of a portion of the wireless spectrum is determined by the number of waves per second (i.e. frequency) and distance of the wavelength. 802.11 is the wireless networking standard among the 900 MHz and 2.4, 3.6, 5.0, 5.8, and 60 GHz frequencies. The computers in our lives use many different wireless technologies, including magnetism, light, satellite, terrestrial radio, Bluetooth, Near Field Communications (NFC), RFID, and microwave.

Types of Wireless Hacking

Each part of the wireless spectrum and the various communication standards for it determine the types of hacking that are likely to be performed on them, although the sheer number of attacks on the Wi-Fi spectrum is a good representation of what can happen in them all. In general, most wireless hacking is done to either conduct eavesdropping, capture information, unauthorizedly share the wireless communication’s broadcast spectrum, cause denial of service, control the service, or attack attached clients. 

Attacking the Access Point
Every wireless technology has one or more access points (APs) to allow transmitting and/or receiving, and these are often connected to terrestrial or other types of communication systems. Hackers can directly attack the AP to compromise the wireless communications. They can crack the AP’s admin password, change its operations, conduct eavesdropping, or trick the victim into connecting to a rogue AP.

Denial of Service
The simplest form of wireless hacking is crudely interrupting or overpowering the legitimate communication’s signal, otherwise known as “jamming” or “flooding.” If I can stop you from communicating over your intended wireless channel and deny you service, it becomes useless. Or a hacker can even take over the channel. If flooding is done correctly, the AP may accidentally reconnect to another, illegitimate resource.

Guessing a Wireless Channel Password
Some wireless technologies require a password (or other authentication proofs) for a client to join the wireless spectrum provided by the participating AP. Rarely do APs lock out devices after a set number of incorrect guesses. So wirelessly cracking devices can guess away until they uncover the correct password.

Session Hijacking
Many attack types have the ultimate goal of taking over the victim’s legitimate communication session. This is often done by flooding the wireless network, causing a disruption, and then either tricking the client into allowing the hacker’s client to take over, modifying the session in an unauthorized way, or tricking the client into connecting to a rogue AP. These types of attacks have become very popular, especially by hackers trying to steal HTML web


Stealing Information
Stealing information is more of an outcome of wireless hacking, but I’m treating it here as its own hacking method because oftentimes the entire hacking session is done to steal information. Such is the case with RFID hacking. Millions of credit cards are RFID-enabled to allow the holder to make purchase transactions without having to insert the card physically into a credit card device. Hackers with RFID scanners can obtain credit card information by simply using a device to surreptitiously energize the RFID transmitter. RFID is also being used on other devices and documents, like cell phones and passports.

Physically Locating a User
Many hackers, often law enforcement types, use the traits and weaknesses of a particular wireless technology to locate participating clients and their devices. Law enforcement is particularly fond of using “stingray” devices, which create fake APs, to physically locate intended targets by their cell phone location. Read https://en.wikipedia.or/wiki/Stingray_phone_tracker to learn more about these fascinating devices and their questionable legality.



Some Wireless Hacking Tools
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of hacking tools that can be used to perform wireless hacking. Any general-purpose protocol capturing program, like Wireshark (https://www.wireshark.com/) or Ethereal (https://sourceforge.net/projects/ethereal/), can be used, but most wireless hackers use a program specialized in it. These tools are great ways to learn about wireless technologies and hacking.


Aircrack-Ng
The most popular 802.11 wireless cracking tool is Aircrack-ng. Released in 2005 as an open-source wireless auditing tool, this frequently updated tool has become both an attacker and defender tool of choice. It’s creator, Thomas d’Otreppe de Bouvette, is profiled in the next chapter.

Kismet
Kismet (https://www.kismetwireless.net/) has become another of the go-to 802.11 hacking tools. It can help someone break into a wireless network or alert you if someone else is trying to do the same to you.

Fern Wi-Fi Hacker
Fern Wi-Fi Hacker (https://github.com/savio-code/fern-wifi-cracker) helps hackers with many of the hacking methods I mention above.

Firesheep
Walk into a coffee shop and fire up Firesheep (http://codebutler.com/firesheep). It will look for and steal any HTML cookies it can find on the shared wireless media. Stealing HTML cookies was possible way before Firesheep came into being, but Firesheep made it as easy as starting a browser. Firesheep was the tool that started many places seriously thinking about wireless (and web site) security.




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  • WiFi Hacking 
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