4 External USB Wifi Adapters for Kali Linux Pentesting

If you are like me, you have been working with Kali Linux, the Linux distribution for penetration testing and ethical hacking, and have been running it as a virtual machine on your 2015 Macbook Pro. And, you have been having issues with sniffing packets because your 2015 Macbook’s built-in wifi adapter is not going into true promiscuous mode — only a limited version that doesn’t give you everything you need. Sadly, other versions of the Macbook don’t seem to have this problem at all, so you may be finding yourself in need of an additional interface.

Or, perhaps you are not like me, and the chipset driving your PC’s Wifi adapter doesn’t let you do much at all, and you just want an external USB Wifi adapter that will make it easy to use tools such as Aircrack-ng for ethical hacking jobs.

Whatever the case, I’ve done some research and will present a few options that don’t break the bank and should provide you with a quick and easy way to do all the proper packet sniffing you deserve.

TP-Link N150

The first option on this list is the $13.45 TP-Link N150 dongle. A small USB device that sports a detachable antenna, it should get the job done if you prefer portability over power. This device uses the Atheros AR9271 chipset, which is known to work smoothly in Kali Linux (and probably most other distros).

USB Rt3070

The cheapest USB adapter, at a paltry $11.99, is the generic USB Rt3070, another dongle style device that is also the smallest you will find here. With similar specs as the TP-Link device, this one is even easier to conceal, and probably won’t raise any suspicions if you have it plugged into your laptop in a crowded place. While not the most powerful device by any means, if you are near the router you want to connect to, it shouldn’t be a problem.

Alfa AWUS051NH

Taking a big step up in everything, including features, power, and profile, we have the Alfa AWUS051NH. This one has been sitting on my Amazon wishlist for quite a while, and I think it’s about time I pick it up. It even has a holster with suction cups to stick to a window, and it will pick signals up from long range.

If you are needing to physically stay away from the target you are testing, while still being able to test it, try this sucker.

Alfa AWUS036NHA

Lastly, we have another Alfa device, both of which get really good reviews for Kali Linux in particular. At only $6 more than the AWUS051NH, the Alfa AWUS036NHA looks cooler and has a boost in power to let it pick up signals from even farther away. It also comes with the holster and suction cups for the windows of your vehicle, office, or home. According to its description, what sets it apart is the “High Transmitter Power of 28dBm – for Long-Rang and High Gain Wi-Fi.”

 

Are there others?

Have you tried any of these? What did you think? Know of any others that do a good job?

Snagit Charges for “Upgrade”

lipstick on a pig photo

Look! This pig has lipstick.

I am completely fine with paying for software that I really like and that serves a purpose for me. However, if you are a software company that is going to use the ‘paid upgrade’ model of charging customers to upgrade to the next major version of your product, make sure the next major version contains new features worth paying for.

In the case of TechSmith’s Snagit, they have failed to provide anything of real value in their latest release (version 3.0 for Mac, or 12.0 for Windows), yet they are asking for $24.95 to upgrade to the latest version.

I paid for version 2 of Snagit for my Mac (that’s version 11 for you Windows users), and I really enjoyed using it. It became a tool in my arsenal that I relied heavily upon for doing quick screen shots and adding text, notes, arrows, and more.

Then one day a couple of weeks ago the updater ran and I was suddenly looking at a trial version of Snagit 3.0. And it said it was going to expire unless I paid the discounted upgrade fee of $24.95.

Aggravated, I hoped to have my mood changed and be wowed by version 3.0. So I tested it out for a few days. I quickly found that it had a nicer look and feel about it, but other than that, there were no noticeable enhancements or actual upgrades to the product. It was the same product with about one new feature related to the video clipping tool — something I could care less about. And that new feature was only a new arrow selector of some sort. Not impressed.

Jason Eagleston, the “Snagit Product Owner” at TechSmith even admits in their self-congratulatory release video that “with this release we had a focus on updating the way Snagit looks and feels, partially to bring that consistency across all the Techsmith things that you are going to interact with, but ultimately it’s only focused on getting your content to be the most prominent thing on the screen.”

Hmm…I only interact with one Techsmith product, so why should this be a feature worth paying for? And how is it not the most prominent thing on my screen if I’m currently using it in the first place?

A couple of more employees in the video go on to talk about how much nicer the product will be to use, and that they really wanted people to feel like they were using something current and not outdated. So it really isn’t about an upgrade, it’s about a change of clothes.

The whole video is about them admitting that their product didn’t look that great, so they spent a lot of effort making it look better (or “flatter,” as they say in the video, which is supposed to be something we should like), and now they want their customers to pay for that. No real tool enhancements or additions, just a subjective improvement to the design. For $24.95? No thanks.

For those of you looking for a free alternative to Snagit, check out Skitch. With or without Evernote, it’s a nice tool that does just about everything Snagit does for screen capturing.

Photo by Darin Barry

Install missing GarageBand Content (loops etc.)

When you’ve missed installing the GarageBand Extra Content (I.E. “GarageBand Instruments and Apple Loops”) for whatever reason,
and when GarageBand DOES NOT give you the option to install from DVD when clicking on a non-installed loop/synth etc, then you can try the following. YMMV

Note: iLife 11 doesn’t seem to have the extras on the DVD (I could have missed it though)

So, with that in mind, break out your MAC’s Applications installer disc and pop it in and download the attached instructions.

GarageBand.Extra.Content

HTH

MP3/ACC ID Tag issues (iTunes / PS3) – Part 2

If you missed my first rambling, see it here – Part-1

Now in Part 2, I’ve brought back more food for thought and some updated info between PS3’s ability to read MP3 tagging and AAC tagging as well.

So after some further testing, I’ve realized the broken part seems to be in iTunes MP3 tagging forArtwork only.

Setup used:

Windows 7 (and a few pre-encoded files from Vista for comparison)
iTunes 9.0.2.xx (latest as of Jan.5.2010) – Default ID Tag v.2.2 (but tested with 2.3 conversions)
dBpoweramp  13.3 using Lame 3.98.2 and ID Tags v2.3
PS3 – Fat and Slim models (tested on Firmware 3.00 and 3.15) which can read ID Tag v.2.1, 2.2, and 2.3

Here are the results I’ve found (based on MP3 encoding):

  1. A song encoded with iTunes that auto grabs the Artwork and using ID Tag v.2.2 (or even altering the same song to v.2.3) doesn’t show up properly under the PS3 or Windows Explorer.
  2. However, using that very same song encoded in step one, if I copy and paste a graphic from the internet etc. and drop it into the Album Artwork window in iTunes, it will then show up on my PS3 and through Windows Explorer!
  3. I decided to move back to dBpoweramp and run some test encodes/tagging for comparisons. While using dBpoweramp, all ID Tagging worked out of the box, all art work pulled from the net and inserted correctly, which was readable by all applications (iTunes, Black Berry, PS3, Windows Explorer, iPod, Sandisk Mp3 player) etc.

Thoughts:

There’s obviously something different with how artwork is stored when iTunes grabs it from the web (automatically) versus when you copy/paste artwork into the album art window.

I know (and have known) iTunes kept a separate “Album Artwork” folder, but it never dawned on me that they wouldn’t also keep that info in the headers as well.  So it seems when you copy and paste Artwork (vs. Auto-grabbing) in iTunes, it then writes it / tags it in the headers properly.

I guess they were trying to achieve a better way of Artwork storage? I guess we’ll see when I send off my letter to Apple, if they write back.

AAC:

As for the AAC part of this….it’s Sony’s fault, mostly……

While iTunes does the exact same thing with Artwork as the MP3’s, the Artwork doesn’t show up properly no matter what you encode with (dbPoweramp, EAC, etc) as the PS3 is expecting the container to be a 3GP/AAC file! Arrrgggghhhhh my PS3 isn’t a damn cell phone.

So until Sony updates the PS3 (like the later PSP updates) to read the entire m4a container (and tags) properly, it seems we’re out of luck for AAC encoded files (unless you go through a huge mess)

Note: However, there are ways around all of this crap, you could just use a streaming media server, but then we wouldn’t have learned this little bit of info.  😉

MP3/ACC ID Tag issues (iTunes / PS3) – Part 1

This isn’t a guide or how-to article, it’s really just an informational blabber (in two parts), but maybe it will stir some thinking/experimenting with an old friend or two.

While messing around with my PS3 as an AAC/MP3 encoder, I quickly realized it doesn’t pull Art info etc. However, even if it did, I wouldn’t advise using the PS3 as your main ripper/encoder, as it’s always easier to replace standard PC DVD drives vs. a PS3 Blue Ray drive. 😉

Over the years I’ve moved from app to app and codec to codec (Audio Grabber, Lam3 via CLI, batch processing, EAC, dbpoweramp, linux tools with Lam3, OGG and so on) always looking for a great rip/encode combo. It’s funny, I swore off iTunes for encoding funtions until they starting using better versions of an MP3 encoder etc, I also stayed away from AAC, not because it’s not good (as it’s VERY good) but there was so  few players (car/mobile) that could play them (except iPods) etc. Well…..years passed and lots of things started supporting AAC, so I moved to AAC a year or so ago.

Now days, I truly do love iTunes ability to encode AAC/MP3’s (plus managing my iPod Touch) and supposedly Apple supports and uses the standard tagging functions for MP3 ID Tags, well…..at least that’s what it looks like and feels like except for one little minor flaw I found recently.

However,  keep in mind, unlike MP3’s, the AAC group has never set an industry standard as far as tagging goes, but Apple implemented a pretty good format on their own.

ENTER PS3 and Windows Explorer issues:

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