Mastering Kali Linux Wireless Pentesting: Test ...
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Before you begin to scan, inject, crack, sniff, spoof, and DoS (Denial of Service) wireless networks, it helps to have an understanding of the fundamentals of conducting a wireless assessment. You should have an understating of the equipment you will need, the environment where the assessment will occur, and the basics of the regulatory standards for wireless communication. This book is a collection of practical applications that tell you how one would go about actually testing the security of wireless networks. It should be mentioned upfront that it is intended to provide some guidance for wireless security professionals and those who are looking to learn what it takes to attack and defend against wireless threats. It probably goes without saying, however, that before you proceed to try any of what you are about to learn against a production network, or any equipment you do not own, you must get written permission from the organization or individual you are providing the wireless assessment for. Unauthorized wireless cracking, traffic capture, or any other attacks that will be presented are a good way to find yourself in hot water and are not condoned or intended by the authors or the publisher of this content. This chapter will set the stage and help guide you through the basics of wireless communication, selecting the hardware that will provide you with all of the functionality required to conduct a wireless pentest, the procurement and installation of Kali Linux, the security professional's distribution of choice, and finally, validating that our configuration is sound and supports all of the tools we will be using throughout this publication.
As we look at the security considerations for each part of the stack that enables wireless connectivity, we have to ensure that all components are scrutinized. It is possible that vulnerabilities in something as fundamental as device drivers may lead to the compromise of the AP or client. Additionally, firmware in an access point can potentially be infected with malware, which can lead to the compromise of the clients that are connected to them. If you are a security professional reading this book, to be better informed and better understand how to test and protect a wireless network you are responsible for, subsequent chapters will provide you with some guidance on known vulnerabilities, what to look out for, and operational best practices in addition to the demonstrated penetration testing exercises.
The Wi-Fi Alliance (www.wi-fi.org) is an organization that supports and certifies wireless technologies to ensure interoperability between vendors, and it has been instrumental in bringing Wi-Fi to homes and businesses around the world. Early implementations of wireless technologies for network communications were hampered by interoperability issues and conflicting implementations because the IEEE did not have the testing equipment to ensure compliance with its standards. This led to the creation of the Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance, or WECA, who were promoting a new higher speed standard for wireless communication, which ultimately became 802.11b. WECA was rebranded in 2002 as the Wi-Fi Alliance continues to validate and certify wireless technologies until this day in order to ensure interoperability and promote standards in the industry. Today, wireless networking technologies used to implement WLANs (Wireless Local Area Networks) are organized under the IEEE 802.11 specifications. They are an alphabet soup of protocols that define the frequencies, transmission rates, bandwidth, and modulation of the wireless communications. The following is a list of the protocols we will be focusing on in this book and those that are the most relevant to wireless security professionals:
The 2.4 GHz spectrum is commonly used for wireless deployments due to its range and support for many common Wi-Fi protocols, such as 802.11b, g, and n. You will typically find it used either exclusively in your target network or as a co-resident with the 5 GHz spectrum in dual-mode access points. The following table lists the channels and associated frequencies that you will encounter when you conduct your wireless penetration test. We will be using these channel numbers in the subsequent chapters as we set up our captures and define channels for our virtual access points.
The master mode: This mode allows us to configure our wireless client as a base station or a wireless access point. In most production networks, clients are clients and access points are access points. This seems funny to say, but as a penetration tester, it is common for us to want to emulate an access point where we control the configuration and, more importantly, have visibility about all of the traffic traversing the wireless device. This mode is required if you intend to set up a virtual access point as part of your assessment.
You will notice that all of the wireless adapters that we recommend in this section have several things in common. First, they all utilize a USB connection rather than being embedded in the device. This is advantageous for a number of reasons. Embedded wireless devices, such as those that ship with your laptop, may have limited advanced functionality support due to driver and firmware limitations. Most pentesters will also use USB devices because of their portability. The USB wireless adapter can easily be disconnected from your primary penetration testing device and be moved to an alternate platform. We will be covering some of these platforms in the last chapter of the book. USB devices can also be easily mapped through to a virtual machine running on top of their existing operating system. This will be demonstrated later, when we cover the installation of Kali Linux on a VM running in Virtual Box.
Having the ability to replace the antenna on your wireless adapter, while penetration testing provides you some flexibility on how you conduct your wireless assessment. When testing the target environment, you must be within the RF range of the target network in order to do the majority of your testing. This limits how far away you can be from the physical location where the wireless is being utilized and, sometimes, your ability to be inconspicuous while conducting the testing. Increasing the gain and focusing the power of your wireless adapter may allow you to set up camp in a place that is a little more covert while still being able to see the target network. In this section, we will look at three common antenna choices that can be affixed to the wireless adapters mentioned earlier. Each has their own unique advantages and drawbacks.
Patch antennas allow you to focus the signal of your wireless interface in a particular direction that can improve the accuracy and range of the transmission over a long distance. The radiation pattern of the antenna only extends from one face of the patch antenna and typically has gains in the 7 dBi to 10 dBi range. This antenna will be beneficial if all of the devices you were testing or capturing from were located in the same direction from your testing location.
Yagi antennas are highly directional antennas, similar to patch antennas. They tend to be capable of even higher gains than the other two discussed antenna types since their radiation pattern is very focused in a particular direction. It is common to find these types of antennas with 18 dBi or higher gains, which allow you to be further away from the target wireless network you are testing if your directional aim with the antenna is true.
The operating environment that we will use throughout this book is Kali Linux version 2.0. This is a Debian-based distribution that has been purpose-built for the security professional. It is preloaded with many of the applications that are commonly used during a penetration test and also includes a set of drivers that enable the advanced functionality of wireless adapters. The process of finding, patching, and compiling wireless drivers on generic Linux platforms to support the monitor mode, injection, and deauthentication can be very cumbersome if you choose to venture out on your own. However, Kali has precompiled drivers for the wireless adapters we discussed in the previous section and others that have been tested to ensure that the adapters will work in a plug-and-play fashion.
Depending on which part of the world you are in, you may encounter wireless networks operating on different frequencies across different channels. It is a good idea to validate that your wireless adapter is capable of scanning across all of these frequencies so that wireless networks are not missed during your penetration test. This can be accomplished by running iwlist:
Make sure you do a little prework upfront before starting your wireless penetration testing as it will save you a significant amount of frustration later on. In this chapter, we discussed the hardware and software that will be required to successfully conduct a wireless penetration test. Choosing the right wireless adapter is critical as not all of the required features are supported in all devices. As you work through the various scenarios presented to you during your test, it may be necessary to utilize different external antennas connected to your wireless adapter, and each of these was discussed in turn. From a software perspective, Kali Linux provides an excellent framework on which to build your wireless testing toolset. Driver support is solid and many security assessment tools are already preconfigured and tested using this distribution. Lastly, once the hardware and software are configured, you'll want to validate the capabilities of your wireless adapter to ensure it is fully supported by the operating system.
Jilumudi Raghu Ram is a security analyst with over 5 years of experience in the information security domain, with a strong knowledge of incident response, digital forensics, network security, infrastructure penetration testing, and Secure configuration audits. He has conducted security audits for more than 70 networks, both internal and external, re-audits, secure configuration reviews, and server audits (Linux and Windows) for various organizations. One of his major clients has been the Government of India, where his team was responsible for conducting penetration testing assignments for various government bodies, as well as preparing vulnerability assessment and penetration testing reports, and supporting the clients to fix those vulnerabilities. Raghu Ram's areas of expertise include incident response, digital forensics, threat research, penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, dynamic malware analysis, intrusion detection systems, and security operations monitoring. Raghu Ram has written various articles related to information security in the Hindu Group magazine Frontline. He also maintains his own website dedicated to Penetration Testing - www.wirelesspentest.com 781b155fdc