Aircrack-ng Wi-Fi Cards and Packet Injection

Aircrack-ng is a tool that can be used to hack Wi-Fi networks and recover their passwords. In order to do this, you will often need an external wireless card that supports packet injection.

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Each operating system is different, meaning some have more limitations than other. Linux for example, is capable of injection and listening to network traffic. Windows is only capable of listening to the traffic which is a software limitation.

Picking the right card is dependent on personal requirements, such as what interface to use and much range you need. USB is the most common, and can be used even when mounted into a virtual machine. Each card also has two manufacturers, the brand of the card and the chipset maker. Brands can include Linksys, TP-Link, Belkin etc, which the two biggest chipset makers are Atheros and Realtek.

The chipset manufacturer is crucial to know because it is what lets you know if your operating system is supported and there are proper drivers for it.

Here is a list of cards that are supported and have been tested to work. – https://www.aircrack-ng.org/doku.php?id=compatibility_drivers#which_is_the_best_card_to_buy

Personally I have the TP-Link TL-WN722N, which is very popular and only about 10-15 dollars, making it very accessible and can help you improve your skills greatly.                   – https://www.amazon.com/TP-Link-N150-Wireless-Adapter-TL-WN722N/dp/B002SZEOLG

Using these cards in a Linux Virtualbox environment is also very important, as all you have to do is enable it in the USB filter settings.

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As you can see, the Wi-Fi card you select is very important, as it extends the functionality and features you have access to in your penetration testing environment. Always make sure to see if it is compatible before buying, and don’t do anything illegal with it.

Ransomware and Wannacry

Ransomware is a “type of malicious software that carries out the cryptoviral extortion attack from cryptovirology that blocks access to data until a ransom is paid and displays a message requesting payment to unlock it”. Due to the complexity of this malware, it is almost always impossible to recover your files without paying the amount of money they state. The encryption methods are very strong and will delete all the data if you don’t pay in a certain time frame.

Some of the most well known ones include Cryptolocker, CryptorBit, and more recently, Wannacry. All of these work in similar fashion, locking files and demanding payment.

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In current events, Wannacry has been very prevalent in the news for affecting the National Health Service in UK. The malware spread from one Windows computer to another through a FTP vulnerability. This was patched by Microsoft already, but the operating systems on the affected computers were not up to date.

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A few hours after this malware went viral, a researcher dug through the code and found that there was kill switch connected to a domain name. He went ahead and registered it, effectively stopping the malware from being activated.

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Although it has temporarily been stopped, it has continued to exist as there are new versions with the kill switch removed and is being spread very quickly.

As a consumer, you should make sure all your Windows computers are up to date with the patches and be aware of what links you visit and websites you go to. If you are already affected, make sure to disconnect from your network so it doesn’t spread. Also, you shouldn’t pay the ransom because often times you will not even receive the decryption key due to how busy they are.

Lockheed Martin Codequest 2017

Recently, my friends and I went to Lockheed Martin to participate in a national coding competition called Codequest. It is open to all high school students and the main objective is to solve as many coding problems as you can within 2.5 hours. They provide you with a packet filled with about 15-20 problems with varying point values.

The team then needs to divide their time among all of them and if they are capable of completing the ones they choose. Another thing is that you have no access to the internet and are allowed only one book of information. You can code in either Java or Python, but a majority used Java.

Most of the problems are very logical and require a lot of math and basic programming such as using loops and splitting/parsing strings because the output has to be perfect with no errors. Even one spelling mistake can cause the PC2 program to give you an error. Due to this issue, we took too much time on one question trying to find the error. Eventually we did at the last minute, but we wasted many opportunities to get more points.

The judges have their own list of inputs and predicted outputs that they run against your program so you can’t hard code any of the program. Once you submit your program to run, you get an instant report on if it ran successfully or if you need to try again.

In the end, we managed to get two of our problems to run successfully, which got us 3rd place in the novice competition. Next year we hope to get 3rd in the Advanced division and to practice our skills more.

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Using a VPN or Tor on Android

Both VPNs and the Tor network can be used to protect your online traffic and others from getting your real identity.

Setting up a VPN on Android is a fairly simple process. Searching for free VPNs in the Play Store will yield hundreds of results. The one I use however, is called Hotspot Shield and will work on most as it has been upgraded to use SSL, which can bypass many filtering services.

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The app is very user friendly and only has one big button in the middle. After clicking it for the first time, you will be greeted with a connection request dialog you must accept. After this, you will be connected to a random server around the world, often in the same country. To connect to other countries, you will need to pay for Elite, which will give you more options and servers you can choose.

There are many other VPN services available, paid or free. Each has pros and cons, but all aim to serve the same purpose.

Tor is very different from a VPN because it can be used to randomize your connection every few minutes. This is secure as well, but can be significantly slower because it travels through many servers, rather than just once.

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Once you click start, you can enable Tor for just the browser, or run your whole device and its apps through it. This uses the VPN feature of your phone to work, but is very flexible due to the wide variety of options.

With root access, you can transparently proxy your whole phone, making it even more anonymous and hard to detect. Also if the network you are on or country you live in is censoring your connection, you can use various bridges and alternate paths to still connect to the network.

Both VPNs and Tor can be beneficial when you are using your phone on public networks or if you need to access blocked content or services. They serve as a way to battle internet censorship and can allow access to things only available in certain countries. Tor is also open source, meaning you can take a look at its code and can compile your own version of it to use.