Saturday, August 02, 2008

The RokN: not just for Macs!

If you follow our new product offerings (often written about here on our blog), you know we recently launched an 802.11n draft standard wireless USB adapter called the RokN. It is compatible with Apple Mac OS 10.3, 10.4, and 10.5 (Leopard).

It works very well with Macs, but it also works great in Linux too.

(note: the following statements are made based on testing in BT3- BackTrack 3- if you have a different Linux distro all statements may not apply or be correct for your particular version.) If you are a BT3 user, not only is the RokN plug and play, meaning you don't need to install drivers, but it can operate in monitor mode. The fact that it is plug and play is especially invaluable if you are running BT3 from a bootable CD and you don't have the ability to install and save drivers to a hard drive.

In today's environment of liability lawsuits, if you have an access point in your home or business, you need to make sure it is secured. A court in Germany recently found an access point owner at fault for illegal activities someone else conducted via his access point (see this blog entry). And sometimes simply enabling WEP encryption won't be enough to stop intruders. But how can you detect vulnerabilities? Well getting into the nitty-gritty of it all would take pages and pages of text and a lot of trial and error, but fortunately everything you need to know is freely available on the web, in places like the forum section at Remote Exploit (the makers of BT3). But you have to take the first step of getting a wireless adapter that is not only Linux compatible, but that is also compatible with some of the programs that come with BT3, programs like Aircrack and SPoonWep.

Using both of these programs and the RokN, we were able to detect network vulnerabilities in several test WEP-enabled networks we created here for the purpose. We we also able to tweak our own office wireless access point to make it more secure. Newer WiFi security protocols are less prone to cracking then older ones, but it is only a matter of time before those become exploitable too. Having the knowledge and ability to detect vulnerabilities is a must for any business owner, CTO, or IT worker and will come in the handy both now and in the future. So whether you are familiar with Linux or not, the first step is to get a wireless adapter that is plug and play with a Linux distro like BT3, and fortunately the RokN is just that. But it also plays nice with many of the programs in BT3, something that cannot be said of all wireless adapters on the market today.

One final thing that Linux users might appreciate about the RokN- you can achieve true 802.11n connections when using with an 802.11n draft standard router. Some 802.11n adapters have chipsets which only allow them to work in G mode when used on a Linux computer, thus limiting your connection speed to 54 mbps. With the RokN you can connect at the same speed in Linux as you would on a Windows or Mac computer.

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