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Wireless networking with Windows XP

Posted on 2006-06-09
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Last Modified: 2010-03-18
Not sure where I should put this post, but I'm looking for a program that I can use to scan for wireless networks that don't broadcast their SSID.  The reason I want to do this is because I've been having trouble with users losing connection and being unable to reconnect.  For example, some of them would disconnect manually.  This will switch from Automatic to Manual.  The problem now is that manual doesn't work because our SSID doesn't show up.  I'd rather keep SSID broadcast off, but want them to be able to see it as well. I heard of programs that will show, "Network with SSID broadcast off", then the user will have to type in the SSID to connect.

Does anyone know of such a program?
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Question by:warriorfan808
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15 Comments
 
LVL 48

Expert Comment

by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 16875214
i am interested in this as i have never heard of such a thing, if the SSID broadcast is off, what is there to scan?
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:FriarTuk
ID: 16876462
me too, the purpose of turning the ssid off is so hackers can't scan your network

there may pgms that scan for networks & may pick up a signal but can't identify it
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LVL 40

Accepted Solution

by:
Fatal_Exception earned 2000 total points
ID: 16876851
Well, not necessarily!  :)

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/itsolutions/network/evaluate/hiddennet.mspx

A hidden network is not undetectable. Hidden networks are advertised in the probe requests sent out by wireless clients and in the responses to the probe requests sent by wireless APs. Therefore, unlike broadcast networks, Windows wireless clients configured to connect to hidden networks are constantly disclosing the SSID of those networks, even when those networks are not in range. Malicious users can detect the wireless network SSID from these probe requests. Software such as HotSpotter, which can be downloaded for free from the Internet, leverages these information disclosures and targets hidden networks.

So, try HotSpotter:

http://www.remote-exploit.org/index.php/Hotspotter_main
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 16876885
BTW:  of course, there needs to be traffice being sent for you to discover the hidden SSID...  :)
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 16876901
And, another utility:

http://www.airmagnet.com/

But first, read this article on discovering hidden SSIDs (this one is the best I could find):

http://cws.internet.com/article/3122-.htm

So, the lesson learned?  Do not count on hiding your SSID to protect your network!!!!!

FE

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LVL 48

Expert Comment

by:Jay_Jay70
ID: 16877316
excellent, wondered if there was a util that would do this, hadnt heard of one to date
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 16877743
Yea, a lot of users think that hiding the SSID will prevent war drivers from accessing their networks...  like many things, security wise, not a good way to go about this, and as you know, anything can be overcome with the proper knowledge..  
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:warriorfan808
ID: 16878439
Thanks a lot Fatal.  Do you know a good place for me to read up on Wireless Security?
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 16878623
My pleasure..  most of my knowledge just comes from getting in a bind myself, then reading my way out of it.. if you really want to study this stuff, you need to start with the basics of networking, then build from there.   Now, if you just want to jump into it, I would go to InformIT and read their articles on WEP, WPA, etc...  

For instance, everyone (most people, including network guys) think that WPA is hard to crack.. Well, it isn't.  I only need to capture 4 packets to crack the encryption..  Then, I am in your network!  Read this to get you started, and follow the links for more good articles:

http://www.informit.com/articles/article.asp?p=369221&seqNum=2&rl=1

Glad I could be of some small help here...  I don't get much of a chance to post these days, but still enjoy helping out!

FE
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:warriorfan808
ID: 16878675
Thanks for the Link Fatal,

I have a pretty good foundation to build on when it comes to networking.  I'm just glad I came across this site so I can learn as much as possible from guys that know their stuff.
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 16879127
There you go then!  You are coming to the right place to learn, as we all are!

Cya round the threads!

FE
0
 
LVL 1

Author Comment

by:warriorfan808
ID: 16889182
Hey Fatal,

Air Magnet looks like it costs money.  Do you know of any directions on how to use Air Jack?
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LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 16890946
Never used it before, but knew that these utilities were out there just from reading up on WiFi security (InformIT again).  As this is a development project, I have a feeling that it will take some study to understand how it works, and unfortunately I have too much on my plate right now to delve into it that deeply...  sorry, and really wish I could just give you the 1-2-3 on it!
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:warriorfan808
ID: 16890961
It's cool Fatal.  Maybe I can find some documentation if I do some more googling.  I can actually look at all the code too.  Who knows, maybe I can make my own version :D  I doubt it, I'm a crappy programmer.
0
 
LVL 40

Expert Comment

by:Fatal_Exception
ID: 16908514
<<I'm a crappy programmer>>

Me too!  :)
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