Free Wi-Fi Stumblers Do the Work But Save You Money - Page 2

 By Eric Geier
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NetStress (see Figure 3) is a simple yet very useful tool. It tells you the maximum throughput or data rate (speed) of a chosen network connection. You must install it on two Windows computers, one as a server and another as the client. Then it can calculate the realistic data rate and shows you a nifty graph.

Figure 3: NetStress


This isn't a stumbler, cracker, or sniffer. WirelessKeyView is a tool to recover the WEP encryption keys and WPA/WPA2 passphrases saved in Windows. It's great if you ever forget your encryption key or passphrase and you still have a computer configured for the wireless network.

You might also use it to show yourself or others why, on business networks, it's better to go with WPA/WPA-Enterprise. This is because the Enterprise mode doesn't store the encryption keys on your computers as with the Personal or pre-shared key (PSK) mode.


Aircrack-ng (see Figure 4) provides tools to crack Wi-Fi encryption, both WEP keys and WPA/WPA2 passphrases. It uses the standard FMS attack with the KoreK optimization, plus the newer PTW attack. It's not just for underground hackers; it can be used for corporate network auditing and for training and educational purposes.

Figure 4: AirCrack NG
Figure 4: AirCrack NG


Encryption isn't the only possible point of attack on Wi-Fi networks. The drivers loaded on the wireless cards can also have security vulnerabilities, in addition to other errors that might cause performance or operation issues.

The WiFi Driver Enumeration utility, WiFiDEnum for short, is a driver assessment tool. It scans Windows and reports any vulnerabilities found from your wireless device drivers. It can even scan via the network so you don't have to run it on every machine. Once it's done, you'll know exactly which driver version your clients are using. If any issues are found, you can upgrade the driver to fix them.

Still curious about what's out there? Here are three more stumblers we couldn't cover but you still might want to check out: NetSurveyor, Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector, Meraki WiFi Stumbler, and KisMAC.

Eric Geier is the Founder and CEO of NoWiresSecurity, which helps businesses easily protect their Wi-Fi with enterprise-level encryption by offering an outsourced RADIUS/802.1X authentication service. He is also the author of many networking and computing books, for brands such as For Dummies and Cisco Press.

This article was originally published on Jul 23, 2010
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