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You can follow along with either the video or the text below. After that, Ill explain how Reaver works, and what you can do to protect your network against Reaver attacks. First, a quick note: As we remind often remind readers when we discuss topics that appear potentially malicious: Knowledge is power, but power doesnt mean you should be a jerk, or do anything illegal. Knowing how to pick a lock doesnt make you a thief.
Consider this post educational, or a proof-of-concept intellectual exercise. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself. What Youll NeedYou dont have to be a networking wizard to use Reaver, the command-line tool that does the heavy lifting, and if youve got a blank DVD, a computer with compatible Wi-Fi, and a few hours on your hands, youve got basically all youll need.
There are a number of ways you could set up Reaver, but here are the specific requirements for this guide:The BackTrack 5 Live DVD . BackTrack is a bootable Linux distribution thats filled to the brim with network testing tools, and while its not strictly required to use Reaver, its the easiest approach for most users. Download the Live DVD from BackTracks download page and burn it to a DVD.
You can alternately download a virtual machine image if youre using VMware, but if you dont know what VMware is, just stick with the Live DVD. As of this writing, that means you should select BackTrack 5 R3 from the Release drop-down, select Gnome, 32- or 64-bit depending on your CPU (if you dont know which you have, 32 is a safe bet), ISO for image, and then download the ISO. A computer with Wi-Fi and a DVD drive. BackTrack will work with the wireless card on most laptops, so chances are your laptop will work fine. However, BackTrack doesnt have a full compatibility list, so no guarantees.
Youll also need a DVD drive, since thats how youll boot into BackTrack. I used a six-year-old MacBook Pro. A nearby WPA-secured Wi-Fi network.
Technically, it will need to be a network using WPA security with the WPS feature enabled. Ill explain in more detail in the How Reaver Works section how WPS creates the security hole that makes WPA cracking possible. A little patience. This is a 4-step process, and while its not terribly difficult to crack a WPA password with Reaver, its a brute-force attack, which means your computer will be testing a number of different combinations of cracks on your router before it finds the right one. When I tested it, Reaver took roughly 2.5 hours to successfully crack my password.
The Reaver home page suggests it can take anywhere from 4-10 hours. Your mileage may vary. Lets Get CrackinAt this point you should have BackTrack burned to a DVD, and you should have your laptop handy. Step 1: Boot into BackTrackTo boot into BackTrack, just put the DVD in your drive and boot your machine from the disc.
(Google around if you dont know anything about live CDs/DVDs and need help with this part.) During the boot process, BackTrack will prompt you to to choose the boot mode. Select BackTrack Text - Default Boot Text Mode and press Enter. Eventually BackTrack will boot to a command line prompt.
When youve reached the prompt, type startx and press Enter. BackTrack will boot into its graphical interface. Step 2: Install ReaverUpdate: This step is no longer necessary, as Reaver comes pre-installed on Backtrack 5 R3. Skip down to Step 3. Reaver has been added to the bleeding edge version of BackTrack, but its not yet incorporated with the live DVD, so as of this writing, you need to install Reaver before proceeding.
(Eventually, Reaver will simply be incorporated with BackTrack by default.) To install Reaver, youll first need to connect to a Wi-Fi network that you have the password to. Click Applications > Internet > Wicd Network ManagerSelect your network and click Connect, enter your password if necessary, click OK, and then click Connect a second time. Now that youre online, lets install Reaver. Click the Terminal button in the menu bar (or click Applications > Accessories > Terminal). At the prompt, type:apt-get updateAnd then, after the update completes:apt-get install reaverIf all went well, Reaver should now be installed.
It may seem a little lame that you need to connect to a network to do this, but it will remain installed until you reboot your computer. At this point, go ahead and disconnect from the network by opening Wicd Network Manager again and clicking Disconnect. (You may not strictly need to do this.
I did just because it felt like I was somehow cheating if I were already connected to a network.) Step 3: Gather Your Device Information, Prep Your CrackinIn order to use Reaver, you need to get your wireless cards interface name, the BSSID of the router youre attempting to crack (the BSSID is a unique series of letters and numbers that identifies a router), and you need to make sure your wireless card is in monitor mode. So lets do all that. Find your wireless card: Inside Terminal, type:iwconfigPress Enter. You should see a wireless device in the subsequent list. Most likely, itll be named wlan0, but if you have more than one wireless card, or a more unusual networking setup, it may be named something different. Find the BSSID of the router you want to crack: Lastly, you need to get the unique identifier of the router youre attempting to crack so that you can point Reaver in the right direction.
To do this, execute the following command:airodump-ng wlan0(Note: If airodump-ng wlan0 doesnt work for you, you may want to try the monitor interface insteade.g., airodump-ng mon0.)Youll see a list of the wireless networks in rangeitll look something like the screenshot below:When you see the network you want, press Ctrl+C to stop the list from refreshing, then copy that networks BSSID (its the series of letters, numbers, and colons on the far left). The network should have WPA or WPA2 listed under the ENC column. (If its WEP, use our previous guide to cracking WEP passwords.)Now, with the BSSID and monitor interface name in hand, youve got everything you need to start up Reaver.
Step 4: Crack a Networks WPA Password with ReaverNow execute the following command in the Terminal, replacing bssid and moninterface with the BSSID and monitor interface and you copied down above:reaver -i mon0 -b 8D:AE:9D:65:1F:B2 -vvPress Enter, sit back, and let Reaver work its disturbing magic. Reaver will now try a series of PINs on the router in a brute force attack, one after another. This will take a while. In my successful test, Reaver took 2 hours and 30 minutes to crack the network and deliver me with the correct password. As mentioned above, the Reaver documentation says it can take between 4 and 10 hours, so it could take more or less time than I experienced, depending. When Reavers cracking has completed, itll look like this:A few important factors to consider: Reaver worked exactly as advertised in my test, but it wont necessarily work on all routers (see more below).
Also, the router youre cracking needs to have a relatively strong signal, so if youre hardly in range of a router, youll likely experience problems, and Reaver may not work. Throughout the process, Reaver would sometimes experience a timeout, sometimes get locked in a loop trying the same PIN repeatedly, and so on. I just let it keep on running, and kept it close to the router, and eventually it worked its way through. Also of note, you can also pause your progress at any time by pressing Ctrl+C while Reaver is running.
This will quit the process, but Reaver will save any progress so that next time you run the command, you can pick up where you left off-as long as you dont shut down your computer (which, if youre running off a live DVD, will reset everything). How Reaver WorksNow that youve seen how to use Reaver, lets take a quick overview of how Reaver works. The tool takes advantage of a vulnerability in something called Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or WPS. Its a feature that exists on many routers, intended to provide an easy setup process, and its tied to a PIN thats hard-coded into the device. Reaver exploits a flaw in these PINs; the result is that, with enough time, it can reveal your WPA or WPA2 password. Read more details about the vulnerability at Sean Gallaghers excellent post on Ars Technica.
How to Protect Yourself Against Reaver AttacksSince the vulnerability lies in the implementation of WPS, your network should be safe if you can simply turn off WPS (or, even better, if your router doesnt support it in the first place). Unfortunately, as Gallagher points out as Ars, even with WPS manually turned off through his routers settings, Reaver was still able to crack his password. In a phone conversation, Craig Heffner said that the inability to shut this vulnerability down is widespread. He and others have found it to occur with every Linksys and Cisco Valet wireless access point theyve tested.
On all of the Linksys routers, you cannot manually disable WPS, he said. While the Web interface has a radio button that allegedly turns off WPS configuration, its still on and still vulnerable. So thats kind of a bummer.
You may still want to try disabling WPS on your router if you can, and test it against Reaver to see if it helps. You could also set up MAC address filtering on your router (which only allows specifically whitelisted devices to connect to your network), but a sufficiently savvy hacker could detect the MAC address of a whitelisted device and use MAC address spoofing to imitate that computer. Double bummer. So what will work? I have the open-source router firmware DD-WRT installed on my router and I was unable to use Reaver to crack its password. As it turns out, DD-WRT does not support WPS, so theres yet another reason to love the free router-booster.
If thats got you interested in DD-WRT, check their supported devices list to see if your routers supported. Its a good security upgrade, and DD-WRT can also do cool things like monitor your internet usage, set up a network hard drive, act as a whole-house ad blocker, boost the range of your Wi-Fi network, and more. It essentially turns your 60 router into a 600 router. How to Monitor Your Internet Usage So You Dont Exceed Your Data CapHow to Monitor Your Internet Usage So You Dont Exceed Your Data CapHow to Monitor Your Internet Usage So You DontInternet data caps are becoming a reality and can seriously suck. If youre stuck with theRead more Read more Further ReadingThanks to this post on Mauris Tech Blog for a very straightforward starting point for using Reaver. If youre interested in reading more, see:Ars Technias hands onThis Linux-centric guide from Null ByteThe Reaver product page (its also available in a point-and-click friendly commercial version.