Tools of Our Trade – WiFi – ALFA AWUS036NHA Adapter
We promised to write about the tools of our trade. A few of the services we perform, whether it’s Vulnerability Assessment or Penetration Testing, we usually will perform some type of wireless review. While we will talk about the software products used in another post, in this installment, we describe the ALFA Network, Atheros AR9271 IEEE 802.11b/g/n Long-Range USB Adapter, model # AWUS036NHA.
While this adapter can be used to add wireless networking to a computer that has an extra USB port, it is more often used by wireless penetration testers because the chipset included in the device allow the card to enter monitor (promiscuous) mode and the ability to inject and capture packets at the same time. These two last functions are the most important.
Functions of Adapter
- While normal wireless cards can listen to the traffic destined to that device, the ability to enter “monitor” mode allows these special cards to listen to all packets.
- The second important feature of these types of cards is the ability to inject packets back into the network in order to more quickly “crack” the packets needed to break the WEP passphrase.
- Lastly, while most testers are using some type of virtualization software, such as VMware or VirtualBox, in order to use these features, you’ll need to use an external USB adapter.
While these testers are using these tools, the best part of this “special” adapter is its price. The ALFA USB adapter retails for $30 to $40 on any number of sites, including Amazon. It makes sense to include some of these in your internal testing program. In another blog series, we will detail HOW to use these cards.