Tag Archives: WiFi

McDonald’s to Offer Free Wi-Fi Starting January

free_wifi_mcdonalds

McDonald’s will soon start offering free Wi-Fi for customers in collaboration with AT&T starting mid-January. Currently, McDonald charges customers $2.95 to access Wi-Fi for two hours. Free Wi-Fi in McDonald’s will be launched in 11000 locations across US.

Providing free Wi-Fi will definitely get more customers into McDonald’s stores and more likely than not increase their revenue, specially the new line of coffee introduced by them.

Do you use Wi-Fi in McDonald’s or Starbucks?

Image Credit: adsoftheworld.com

[via TechMeme]

WPA-PSK Passwords Could Be Cracked in 20 Minutes

In our earlier posts for demystifying Wi-Fi we had told you about encryptions used by Wi-Fi. In that WPA encryption was supposedly one of the most secure encryptions you could use to protect your Wi-Fi connection. However, it looks like for $17 it would take 20-40 minutes to crack WPA encryption on any Wi-Fi.

The site in question WPA Cracker has put up a introduction which states this.

WPA Cracker is a cloud cracking service for penetration testers and network auditors who need to check the security of WPA-PSK protected wireless networks.

WPA-PSK networks are vulnerable to dictionary attacks, but running a respectable-sized dictionary over a WPA network handshake can take days or weeks. WPA Cracker gives you access to a 400CPU cluster that will run your network capture against a 135 million word dictionary created specifically for WPA passwords. While this job would take over 5 days on a contemporary dual-core PC, on our cluster it takes an average of 20 minutes, for only $17.

The service was launched by a very well known security researches Moxie Marlinspike, who was obviously unhappy that cracking WPA-SPK passwords took a few days or weeks in general. The main purpose of the site is to quickly establish whether a Wi-Fi network’s password is crackable or not. A regular PC with a dual-core processor would take more than 5 days to run more than 135 million possible combinations or dictionary attacks to crack the WPA-PSK password.

WPA Cracker is mainly aimed at businesses who want to verify whether their network is vulnerable to dictionary attacks or not. With a 400 CPU cluster it becomes much more quicker and easier to understand the security of a Wi-Fi network and apply changes before they are actually compromised.

Rest aside, cracking a Wi-Fi network could produce a goldmine of information. And it is better to have a strong password rather than getting compromised.

[Tech World News via Techno Friends]

Samsung Corby S3650W Will Get Wi-Fi

Samsung-Corby-S3650-Touchscreen-Phone-for-Young-People

Samsung Corby S3650 which is already been a hit in mid-range phone market will be soon getting Wi-Fi. Although it is not official till now but keeping in view the Samsung Star which also got Wi-Fi this cannot be ignored.

The Wi-Fi version will be S3650W. The certification paper of Corby was spotted in Wi-Fi alliance official site. Samsung understands the importance of high speed internet so if 3G is not available in their device then Wi-Fi surely will be.

The people who were looking forward to get Samsung Corby S3650 must now wait for the Wi-Fi version S3650W. It is not official till now but it is just a matter to time when it gets official.

How to Create Your Own Wifi Hotspot in Windows 7

connectify-program-icon A few weeks ago, a new application, called Connectify, appeared on the net. It made use of an unfinished feature in Win7 to make it easy to create personal wifi connections that can be shared with others. Please note that this application only works in Windows 7.

Recently, Connectify has been updated so that you can name the wifi connection that you create. Here’s how it works.

● Download the Connectify client
● Install it
● Look for the Connectify icon in the system tray

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● Click on the icon once to open it

connectify-client-settings
● Set the wifi name
● Set a password of 8 characters or more
● Select either Local or Wireless in the pull down
● Click the “Start Hotspot” button

As you can see, I’ve created a wifi hotspot named “Sky.net”. In this case, I’m fairly sure it won’t become super-intelligent and try to destroy humanity. (see wikipedia about skynet)

Once it’s live, anyone with your password can connect to your hotspot. Connectify even identifies PCs and devices that are connected to it. You can see them in the window labeled “Connected Clients”. If you double click on a connected client, you can change the little icon next to it to make it easier to identify at a glance.

Recommened Softwrae

Techie-Buzz Verdict: If you would like to share your internet connection wirelessly in your home or on the road, you could not ask for an easier way to do it. I have no problems giving this app a hearty recommendation.

Techie-Buzz Rating: 4/5

Transfer Photos from iPhone/iPod Touch to PC/Mac using WifiPhoto

Of late, I have been creating a lot of screenshots using the iPod Touch, however transferring photos from the iPhone/iPod Touch to your PC is quite a pain, since I have to email individual photos to myself.

 wifiphoto_share_iphone_images_pc_mac

WiFiPhoto is a new app for iPhone/iPod touch which will allow you to transfer photos directly to your PC or Mac using a web browser. Once you have purchased the app, click on the app icon to launch it. In the beginning you will see a blank screen. Click on the add button to add images from to the gallery.

You can select as many images you want to download to the gallery. Click on the done button, once you have finished adding the images. To delete the images from the gallery, just click on the trash icon. This will only delete images from the gallery, and not from your device.

wifiphoto_web_browser_download

The app will display a URL at the bottom of the screen, just type it in your PC/Mac browser to open up the web interface for WiFiPhoto. Using the web interface you can download the images to your local disk. You can also download all the images in the gallery by clicking on the Download Zip file link.

Techie Buzz Verdict

techie-buzz-recommended-software[1] WiFiPhoto is a no-brainer, it is a steal at $0.99, I bought the app without even blinking twice :-). If you use your iPhone to click photos regularly or create screenshots, this app is a must-have. It will save you lots of time and efforts over the regular method of emailing each and every photo to yourself.

The only problem with the app as I saw it was that, once your iPhone/iPod Touch goes into power saving mode, it will lose all the images you had added to the gallery.You will need to re-add them using the add button. However, that is just a minor inconvenience.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4.5/5 (Superb)

Download WifiPhoto from the App Store

Google to Offer Free WiFi on Virgin Atlantic Flights

Whenever people travel on a plane, they get a perfect excuse to skip work, albeit for only sometime. However, Google thinks otherwise. Google has tied up with Virgin Atlantic, to offer free WiFi on flights across North America, during the holiday season.

free_wifi_on_planes

The free WiFi will be available on all Virgin Atlantic flights between November 10, 2009 and January 15, 2010, when you are travelling within North America. Free WiFi will be available for Virgin Atlantic flights to the following destinations:

  • San Francisco, CA (SFO)
  • Boston, MA (BOS)
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL (FLL)
  • Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
  • Los Angeles, CA (LAX)
  • New York, NY (JFK)
  • Orange County, CA (SNA)
  • San Diego, CA (SAN)
  • Seattle, WA (SEA)
  • Washington Dulles (IAD)

Free WiFi on planes is not a new concept, as several other carriers offer paid WiFi on short and long distance flights. Will you fly Virgin Atlantic, just to make use of the free WiFi this holiday season?

Free Holiday WiFi [via Official Google Blog]

Backup & Restore Wireless Settings in Windows 7

Quite sometime back we had told you about Net Profiles a network that allow you to port your network settings and connect to multiple networks without putting in much efforts.

wireless_network

But the beauty of is not just its looks, it has tons of features which eliminates the need for additional software. One such area is the ability to and export your wireless settings and re-import it again on the same PC or a different one.

This feature can definitely come in handy when you use Wireless protection and use a WEP or WAP key for it.

Also Read: Retrieve your secure Wireless WEP/WAP keys

The How-to-Geek blog has a step by step tutorial that will allow you to export your wireless settings and keys and use it on another computer. In the tutorial you will learn to save your Wireless key and restore it on the same computer or on a different one.

Pretty simple and easy, one more reason to love Windows 7.

Easily Backup & Import Your Wireless Network Settings in Windows 7 [How-to-Geek]

Tutorial: Optimising DD-WRT Firmware

If you guys have read my tutorial on Flashing DD-WRT Firmware On Your Wifi Router, then this tutorial I am going to tell you guys on how to Optimise the DD-WRT firmware for better performance.

Step 1: To access the setup page of your wi-fi router after you have flashed the DD-WRT firmware, you need to open your browser and type 192.168.1.1 and press enter. You will first be asked to enter a username and password which you will be asked henceforth to access the settings page of your router. After you enter a username and password, press change password to continue.

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Step 2: The first page which opens by default is the Status page of the router and shows the current status of your router.

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Step 3: After this users should click the setup page and setup their Wi-fi router so as to use it properly with their existing DSL connection.

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Under the Network Setup category, you can change the Local IP Address to whatever you desire. From next time if you want to enter the settings page of your Router, you should enter the IP Address which you have entered here. I recommend changing the default Local IP Address so as to avoid the conflict of the Local IP Address between your Wi-fi router and your ADSL Modems, as the settings page of most of the ADSL modems can be accessed only via 192.168.1.1. Make the required changes and leave other things on their default value and click on “Apply Settings”. Keep in mind that the “Apply Settings” option saves the settings of the router permanently by writing it to the NVRAM of the router whereas the “Save” option only saves the changes you made to the settings page temporarily.

Step 4: After you have saved your settings and your router has rebooted, you need to go to the Wireless page on your router settings page.   Make sure that the Wireless Mode is set to AP which stands for Access Point. If all your devices will be using only the b or g wifi network, then select the respective option from Wireless Network Mode. Keep in mind that wireless g is faster than b but most of the old devices don’t support wireless g network. Enter a proper name for your Wifi network under the Wireless Network Name (SSID). The Wireless Channel option allows you to select which frequency your wifi router should use. You need to play around with this option from time to time as you need to make sure that you use a totally isolated frequency so as to get the maximum wireless network range possible. The more wifi networks present in your area using the same Wireless Channel as your wifi router, the less will be the network range of your wifi router. If you want keep your Wifi network hidden, select ‘Disable’ under Wireless SSID Broadcast or vice-versa. After making the necessary changes, don’t forget to save your changes by clicking on “Apply Settings”.

Step 5: After this you need to go to the Wireless Security tab under the Wireless page. There you will find the required options to protect your wifi network. It is highly recommended that you protect your wifi network so as to prevent unauthorised usage of your Internet. 4

Keep in mind that you must chose from Disable, WEP, WPA Personal, WPA Enterprise, or RADIUS. Also make sure that all the wifi devices in your network use the same security mode. Keep a note of the pass phrase which you get or set as you need to enter the pass phrase in all your wifi enabled devices when they connect to the wifi network for the first time.

Step 6: After this go to the Advanced Settings tab under the wireless page. Disable the CTS Protection Mode and WMM (Wireless Multimedia Support). Keep the rest of the settings at their default values. One interesting option to note here is the ‘TX Power’ option. This option allows you to increase the amount of power supplied to the wireless antenna’s of your wifi router. Increasing the TX Power to a certain extent may increase the range of your wifi network but if you set a value too high, your router may burn.

Step 7: Another interesting and useful option present in the DD-WRT firmware is that it allows you to restart your wifi router after a certain period of time or on a fixed time everyday or maybe on a fixed day every week. To access this useful option you need to click on Administration->Keep Alive.

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Make the required changes according to your needs and then click on Apply Settings.

I hope this tutorial of mine will allow you to extract the maximum from your wireless router. If you guys have any doubt, please feel free to leave a comment so that I can help you.

Run Open Source Firmware On Your Wi-Fi Router

Wifi router is something which now most of the people own. Wi-fi Router has become more of a necessity now. Well If you recently got a Wifi router and have no idea about the various wifi terms I would suggest you to read WiFi Demystified Part I and Part II posted on ourWRT54GL parent blog, Techie-Buzz.com. Now if you have got the basics cleared and are confident enough to take the risk of flashing a Open Source firmware on your Wifi router since it voids the warranty, we shall move on. if you own a popular router from Linksys/Cisco, Buffalo, D-Link or Netgear, chances are you can run an Open Source Firmware on your Wifi router which will give you extra control on your wifi router, add new features, extend it range etcetera. 

These Open Source firmware are available in different “tastes”. The most popular ones being the Tomato Firmware and the DD-WRT Firmware. You can check whether your router supports DD-WRT Firmware or Tomato Firmware from here and here. Chances are you will be covered. I will soon write a guide on how to flash an Open Source firmware on your Wifi router soon.

WiFi Demystified – Part II

In the first part of Wifi Demystified we explained the basic and advanced Wifi configuration and settings. In this section, we will get acquainted with the various security configurations in a typical WLAN network.

Security mode disabled

Now it is perfectly alright to disable your Security mode (set the option on the gateway to “None”), but that will allow any Wifi client to connect to your AP and utilize it’s bandwidth thus hampering the performance of the intended audience. However, it is observed that most APs in India have no security mode set against them are vulnerable to attacks.

WEP security

Wired Equivalent Privacy, is the basic security mode in all the APs. It consists of 64-bit or 128-bit encrypted passkey. The next part is a little confusing : A 64-bit WEP key in Hexadecimal format is 10 characters long while in the normal ascii (or alpha-numeric) format is 5 characters long. The more secrure 128-bit key in 26 characters in Hexadecimal format and 13 characters in ascii format. Now, some routers may not even have an option for both 64-bit as well as 128-bit keys, or they might display something like WEP-40 or WEP-104 (since 64-bit key is actually derived from a 40 bit key and a 128-bit key is derived from a 104-bit key). I have also seen some routers which will not thrown an error if you do not put more than 5 or 13 characters for the respective mode, since they probably account for the user’s ignorance and truncate it internally.

Another notion, present in only a few APs is the key-index. You can set upto 4 WEP keys and then decide a “key-index” or “default key” from these 4, which will be the actual key used.
Although WEP key is better than having security disabled, it is a fairly easy security to crack. Even a moderate cracker will be able to crack the WEP key in a few minutes as softwares are available for doing these. (Maybe I’ll write a separate post on just WEP key cracking next).

WPA/WPA2

This section is further sub-divided for better understanding.

Wifi Protected Access is essentially a Certification program by the Wifi Alliance which was created in response to the concerns about the weakness of WEP as a security mode. However WPA was a certification based on IEEE’s 802.11i draft which was still scrutinized by the community. When the draft was finally ready, implementing the full standards, a huge number of Wifi products based on WPA had already flooded the market and hence it came to be known as WPA2 and the new products had to be backward compatible with WPA.

TKIP /AES-CCMP : WPA uses the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol or TKIP as an encryption method which makes it a lot harder to crack then WEP. The WPA2 security however used the more advanced AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) algorithm which is used by the CCMP (Counter Mode with Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol) encryption protocol. This protocol makes it impossible for crackers to crack the passphrase, unless of course, the cracker has a super computer at his disposal, in which case it’s just a matter of a few months or years :-).

Both these encryption types accept a pass-phrase (a password), of 8 to 63 characters long, the longer and more random, the better.

Personal/Enterprise mode

Both WPA and WPA2 can be configured in the Personal as well as Enterprise modes.

Personal : Personal mode is also referred to as WPA(WPA2)-PSK or PreShared Key. In this mode you simply setup a passphrase (between 8-63 characters) and share it with users who you wish to connect to your AP. This is usually the default mode to be set in home or SOHO APs since it does not require any additional infrastructure.

Enterprise : In Enterprise mode, the authentication between the Clients and APs happen over the 802.1X authentication protocol. In order to achieve this, there needs to be an external RADIUS server with user credentials in the network (or atleast reachable by the AP). Setting up a RADIUS Server and 802.1X infrastructure is complex and out of the scope of this post, but briefly this is how it works :
The client tries to associate to the AP. The AP sends the Client’s information to the RADIUS Server (this usually happens over a wired connection). The RADIUS server does the authentication and authorization of the user. If the AP gets a “Go Ahead” from the RADIUS, it allows the Client to associate.
As you can see, this is a complex procedure and usually not used in Homes or SoHo environments, which is why most APs may not even have an option to set it.

This completes the WPA/WPA2 configuration settings. Now, just to make sure we are on the same page, WPA2 uses AES-CCMP while WPA uses TKIP for encyption (WPA2 could use TKIP, but that would beat the purpose of the standard). Both WPA and WPA2 can be configured in the Personal as well as Enterprise modes, but Enterpise mode is too complex for home users and should opt for the simpler yet as powerful Personal mode.

So, if your Wifi network has some old clients (more than 3-5 years), it is best to have the security mode set to WPA-Personal and encryption to TKIP. However, if all are relatively new machines, a WPA2-Personal and AES-CCMP pair would make your Wifi almost impenetrable.

WPS

Wireless Protected Setup, is a new Security Configuration methodology. Using WPS, clients can connect to the AP by the simply the push of a button or entering a simple 10 digit Pin code. Needless to say, WPS must be supported both by the AP as well as the Client. WPS is just a convinient way to associate clients and APs and it “sits” on top of the traditional security methods, WPA and WPA2. Thus, before initiating WPS, the WPA parameters should be configured on the AP.

WPS works in two scenarios, Push button method and Pin method.

Pin Configuration method : Some APs will have a WPS pin printed on a label on the device. In other cases, the Client-side generates a unique pin everytime WPS is initiated and this pin has to be entered on the AP (Yes, you read correct. It’s NOT the other way round).

Push Button method : To support this method, both the AP and client either need to have an extra push-button on the device or a soft-pushutton clickable on the Wifi config UI, to initiate WPS.
In both the above cases the basic working is the same : Once WPS is initiated by either of the methods, the Client has 2 minutes to do the same before the session expires. For example, once the button is pressed on the AP, the user should press the WPS button(either hard or soft) on the Client within 2 minutes to get connected. No client can connect after two minutes. If requried, the process needs to be re-initiated. Similarly, once a CLIENT generates a WPS pin, it should be entered and saved on the AP within these 2 minutes for a successful association. This two minute gap is called the Walk period.
Now the attentive user will see the obvious flaw in this system : If a button has been pressed on the AP, any client with WPS capability in the vicinity can associate itself. Well, that’s true, but the other client has to do that within the Walk time. Also, WPS is meant more for convinience than for tighter security, so yeah, there is a trade-off involved here.

MAC ACL

MAC Access Control List lets an AP control which and how many clients will connect to it. However, not all APs have an option to limit the number of clients. Wifi MAC ACLs have a notion on “blacklists” and “whitelists”. When a “blacklist” ACL is applied, all the clients whose MAC addresses   are in that list will be prevented from associating with the AP. Conversely, when the ACL is of type “whitelist”, only the Clients whose MAC addresses are in the list will be allowed to associate, rest all will be rejected. This allows a more broader control on who can or cannot connect to the WLAN.

With this, we have covered the Wifi basics from a layman’s point of view. However, this information should be enough for anyone to configure a Wireless home router in a satisfactory working mode.