Tag Archives: wireless

horst: Not at all colorless, for your wireless

It’s been a while since I found a pure wireless monitor — in fact, I think the last one was WiFiScanner back in October, although you could say wifite had some scanning features, even if its purpose was a little different.

I’d like to say that horst is a monitor that ranks among the best, but I should probably tone that down just a little, and say that it’s among the best I’ve seen.

2015-01-11-6m47421-horst-01 2015-01-11-6m47421-horst-02 2015-01-11-6m47421-horst-03 2015-01-11-6m47421-horst-04 2015-01-11-6m47421-horst-05

After all, I tend to be a bit of a dunce when it comes to all the nitty gritty points about networking issues, and to complicate that, I am easily dazzled by flashy colors or bouncing ASCII graphs. Which makes me the least qualified judge of software, now that I think about it. … :\

In any case, horst does a lot of things right — a lot. Plenty of color, menu-driven, a thousand options controlled through pop-up menus, on-screen keyboard help, clean and efficient use of screen space … I could go on for a while.

In fact, I don’t know if I prefer horst or wavemon, the gold-standard tool for wireless monitoring and the utility I’ve been using to measure up just about everything wireless-ish since the beginning of 2013. 😯

So yes, horst is that good … to me at least. It may be that you have more knowledge about wireless technology and how it works, and therefore have another tool you prefer. In that case, I can only admit my shortcomings and endorse it as a well-designed, attractive and fully functional wireless monitor. Which is not empty praise.

horst is in Debian and AUR, but will take a little nudging to get working. The AUR package tries to assign horst to the group “horst,” which will cause the build to fail; edit out the group assignment and you can run it as root without difficulty.

Both versions will balk if your wireless interface isn’t set to monitor mode, so you’ll need to bring down your interface and set that with iwconfig (deviceid) mode monitor. I should mention that not all devices are created equal, so it may be that your physical hardware refuses to switch to that mode, in which case I think horst is not going to work for you.

Once that’s set, you should be able to run horst just with horst -i (deviceid) and enjoy all the text-based glitter. 😀 When you’re done, don’t forget to re-set your interface (probably to “managed”) so you can reconnect to your network. (I’m mentioning all these details for my benefit as well as yours; I’ll probably be scratching my head at some time in the future, wondering how I got horst running.)

Now that my daily dose of splashy color is out of the way, I can focus long enough to give out the first gold star of 2015: ⭐ Enjoy! 😀

wifite: Why fight it

All right, all you wannabe hackers. All you up-and-coming security freaks and as-yet untested marauders of the airwaves. If you don’t know much about wireless security but still need to look the part for your clique, wifite has a solution for you.


By the author’s own admission, wifite is intended to streamline penetration attempts on wireless signals. I’ve done enough with simple signal cracking to know that, at its best, unlocking a network can be a little time-consuming, and require a small measure of expertise.

At its worst, I can only imagine the time and effort it would take. 😐

So if you’re mostly uninformed and need a means of getting revenge on your next door neighbor, or if you’re already an expert and just don’t want the hassle of juggling three or four programs, or if you foolishly relinquished your password to the Windows wireless access tool and now you can’t remember what it was … wifite has all the shortcuts for you.

Just about everything with wifite is to my liking. Plenty of information up front, buckets and buckets of color, a menu-driven system and feedback galore. It’s relatively light and relatively easy to work. If you can pick a number off a list, wifite can do the rest.

But success in wireless security, in spite of what Hollywood might tell you, isn’t just a matter of pushing buttons and getting a password. If you don’t know or understand what wifite is doing, then, as the author suggests, you should probably do a little homework first.

So don’t take wifite as some sort of springboard to the elite ranks of wireless crackers. You won’t win any points among the knowledgeable geeks by stealing your ex-girlfriend’s wireless password if you let it be known you used wifite in your criminal escapade.

Find out why it works, how it works and when it works, and then wifite will make more sense when you put it to work.

WiFiScanner: Wonderfully geeky

I know this is foolish, but I love tools that have a lot of glitter and dash, even if I haven’t a single clue how to use them.

WiFiScanner is a program that apparently last saw updates way back in 2008, but still compiled for me in Arch, and with a little prodding, worked well:


The trick for me was to use the -C flag to specify the driver for my card, and to make sure the terminal was large enough. WiFiScanner wants plenty of space. 🙄

But I’m willing to coddle it this time, because the results were wonderfully geeky. Lots of flashing numbers, lots of data readouts spinning past in a blaze, little animated graphs, tons of statistics all ticking upward more and more. …

Of course, I haven’t a clue what it all means, but it’s great fun to watch.

I shouldn’t act so naive; I can read enough from the home page to know that WiFiScanner is a tool for … ahem, testing the security of wireless networks, and perhaps if I was more of a security geek, I’d know exactly what to do with all that information.

I can only think of one complaint about WiFiScanner, and that’s because I don’t know enough of how to use it that I might have real suggestions. Here’s my one complaint: The H key shows a help menu, but it’s interspersed with the flow of data in the lower half of the screen. So it zips off the display within seconds. That’s hardly helpful. 😦

If you really want to get your hands dirty with WiFiScanner, poke around in the doc folder of the the source package. There are complete instructions on how to build this in Debian and control it once it’s up and running. Provided you know what you’re doing with it, of course.

As it is, I’m just a babe in the woods, enjoying all the flickering lights and thinking how this would freak out the technophobes in my office, and make them think I was some sort of computer genius. 😀

Either that, or they’d have me arrested on some made-up hacker charge. :\

create_ap: Something to brighten your day

There aren’t a whole lot of things that overwhelm me any more with Linux; I’ve seen miracles happen and I know too many cool things are possible. Unless it’s something that I’ve run aground with personally, I will take for granted that this operating system can solve just about any issue.

I did get a pleasant surprise with create_ap today though. There’s not much I can show for it, aside perhaps from this screenshot:


And if you have experiences setting up software access points, that might not even enthuse you. For me, it was a far less painful process than picking through the Arch wiki to get one machine to relay its network connection through another.

And it worked exactly as it said it would, with all but the most trivial setup: Give your network a name. And now I have two or three machines (both Linux and Windows, if I must be honest) piped through a fourth, and reaching the world beyond.

Sorry if I sound over-enthusiastic. I am sure everything on the wiki page is a cake walk for some folks. But I can remember as far back as Internet Connection Sharing between Windows 98 and 2000 machines, and recall weeping over their obtuse refusals to work.

So a script like create_ap, that just makes it into a whiz-bang one-line magic trick, is pretty darned cool. And I can also testify that there have been times, even in the past year, when a machine without a proper ethernet port is suddenly just an expensive flyswatter, because there’s no wireless access in range. 😦

I should mention that there is a small hardware requirement — your wireless card has to allow itself to be put into master mode. One machine with an Intel PRO/2200 wouldn’t do it, but a PCMCIA card with an Atheros 5K chipset would. Good to know.

Either way, this I will definitely keep around, because it simplifies the procedure and prevents me from pulling out my hair. And hey, it just might put a smile on your face. It did that for me. :mrgreen:

aircrack-ng: Opening networks, opening minds

I don’t have a screenshot today, and I don’t have much to tell you about aircrack-ng.

That doesn’t mean I don’t have much experience with it. Quite to the contrary, it has been very useful to me in the past.

What I will tell you about it is, it convinced me to run my own home wireless network without any encryption at all.

Mostly because the few times I tried to lock down my wireless router, I discovered that I could break into it, in most scenarios, in a frighteningly short amount of time.

And I will confess one time I tinkered with an encrypted office network that was in range, and had no trouble entering that either.

Which means two things to me, in the grand scheme of things.

First, that anyone who can handle aircrack-ng (or other tools like it) will probably get into my network, given enough time and determination.

That, to me, means wireless network security is really only a precaution against random people borrowing time on my network.

And since I have been a freeloader in the past (this is the second thing, by the way), and I have been ridiculously thankful for an unsecured public access spot, I leave it open as a courtesy to that one random person who really needs it, to download a driver or send an e-mail.

True, there are bad people in the world who will take advantage of it, but what’s to be done about that? There are bad people everywhere.

aircrack-ng only convinced me to give freely with license, rather than wait to have something taken without permission. 😐

P.S.: I’ll tack on a link to airsnort, without judgment. Similar, but very out of date and probably not useful except in rare situations.

wavemon: A proper wireless tool

I tried two or three times to come up with a righteous first post, something with panache to start things off with a bang.

As luck would have it though, the cat was let out of the bag early, and so I might as well march straight into the good stuff.

And so here it is: some very good stuff, which goes by the name of wavemon.


I lack all the technical requisites to understand (and probably fully appreciate) wavemon, but I’m big on anything that uses console space efficiently and in fun ways.


(Please disregard the inverse question marks; my font doesn’t carry those glyphs.)

With three different display windows — a connection information window, a level histogram and a scan of area networks — this does a lot of the heavy lifting that most people expect from a graphical application.

You might think it odd (as I did at first) that it lacks that one extra step: connecting to the networks it lists. But it does bill itself as a monitor, not a connection tool.

For that we can use … well, let’s save that for another post. 😉