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Wireless Networking Security Windows IT Linux

Windows 7 Can Create Rogue Wi-Fi Access Point 123

Posted by timothy
from the feature-not-bug dept.
alphadogg writes "Windows 7 contains a 'SoftAP' feature, also called 'virtual Wi-Fi,' that allows a PC to function simultaneously as a Wi-Fi client and as an access point to which other Wi-Fi-capable devices can connect. The capability is handy when users want to share music and play interactive games. But it also can allow on-site visitors and parking-lot hackers to piggyback onto the user's laptop and 'ghost ride' into a corporate network unnoticed." While this means a bit more policing for networks meant to be locked down, it sounds like a good thing overall. Linux users, meanwhile, have had kernel support (since 2.6.26) for 802.11s mesh networking, as well as Host AP support for certain chipsets.
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Windows 7 Can Create Rogue Wi-Fi Access Point

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  • by jhaar (23603) on Friday February 19, 2010 @09:27PM (#31206802)

    Actually, can someone explain to me what the real difference is between "master mode" and AdHoc or mesh networks?

    Why is it that only a few chipsets can "do" proper full-blown "master mode" (ie be an Access Point), and yet other chipsets can be used as AdHoc or mesh? I mean - what's the fundamental difference? I've been through this with Linux systems and can't understand why I can't just grab any WLAN card, bring up the interface and whack a DHCP server on it - why doesn't that work for them all?

    Just wonderin...

    J

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @04:21AM (#31208630)

    As I'm both a Windows XP and Linux user (and I like them both for their own reasons), let me explain this to you in more detail.

    Any Linux application I use holds it configuration in a text-based file somewhere on the system - either in my home directory, or globally under /etc somewhere. Whenever I want to change the configuration of an app, I can back up the old configuration just by making a copy of a text file.

    So if I'm messing about with the configuration of, say, Xorg (the modern implementation of the X-Windows GUI) to get a particular graphics card feature to work, it's quite possible I break Xorg and have to go scanning through log files to find out why what I did broke it. But I can also just copy back in the original /etc/X11/xorg.conf file and it will work again...

    If I'm messing about with some new kernel features, then I can end up putting in place a kernel that panics when I try to boot. But it's very easy to configure the GRUB bootloader to give you the option of booting from the last working kernel that you always keep a copy of, so if my new kernel borks then I can always boot back on the old kernel and try compiling a new one again.

    Yes, this stuff is all complicated, even to a Linux veteran like me, but as long as you act responsibly, think about the ramifications about what you are doing, and make sure you have a backout plan, it's not really a problem.

    Now explain to me how this would work in Windows? Don't get me wrong, XP is a bloody reliable OS (I can't comment on Vista or 7 because I've never used either) and uninstalling an application usually works to get you out of any mess you're in.

    But what about if that app trashes the registry, what do you do then?

    And why is it such a big deal whenever I try to backup my "Documents and Settings" directory in Windows, that it won't let me backup a lot of the files unless I boot into safe mode? Or how about I want to take my app settings from one XP machine to another? Presumably I have to use some convoluted backup program, whereas in Linux I can just use "cp" or "scp" over the network to send my home directory and all it's config contents somewhere else.

    I'm sorry, but if something happens on an OS that the user cannot prepare a reasonable backup plan for, then it's a flaw in the OS. No, it doesn't happen often in XP but even as recently as last week, there were reports of some automatic updates trashing users' PCs...

  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @04:34AM (#31208672)

    This is precisely the reason why I have a problem with so many people on here...

    There is *NO*, repeat, *NO* war being waged by Linux to defeat Microsoft. If there was, then it would have already won several battles when it comes to its penetration into server space and into embedded devices - but in the case of servers, it has done far more damage to displacing Sun Solaris, AIX, HP-UX and other "paid for" UNIX implementations.

    So there is no *desire* for Linux to be accepted, it's there as an alternative and some people who write apps or GUIs for it do look at how things are done in Windows and emulate it in Linux, because they assume that anyone who *chooses* to try it and is from a Windows background will at least have some familiarity.

    If anything, the fact that Linux is there and, in many cases, now a viable alternative to Windows, it has given Microsoft a "kick up the backside" to focus more on giving Windows users a better experience - I seriously doubt a Windows OS as reliable and as liked as XP would have existed without Microsoft fearing the uptake of Linux...

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Saturday February 20, 2010 @09:00AM (#31209514)

    "Master mode" means that your computer works as a central access point, other computers use it to relay the data.

    "Ad-hoc" is a special mode for masterless networks, but it allows to connect only two computers (in essence, wireless channel becomes an analog of good old Ethernet cable).

    "Mesh mode" is 'ad hoc' on steroids, it allows any number of computers to connect and uses dynamic routing.

    Master mode requires certain additional functionality from your card (managing connections, transmitting SSID information, resolving collisions, etc.) which some drivers were lacking. Fortunately, it's being fixed with the introduction of the new mac80211 stack in the Linux kernel it'll become better.

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