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FBI Teaches Lesson In How To Break Into Wi-Fi Networks: Page 3 of 8

For the demonstration, Special Agent Bickers brought in a NETGEAR wireless access point and assigned it a SSID of NETGEARWEP. He encrypted the access point with a 128 bit key—made by just keying in random letters and numbers.

Note that normally, you have to find wireless networks before you can crack them. The two wireless scanning tools of choice are Netstumbler for Windows or Kismet for Linux. Since the other WEP cracking tools are mainly Linux-based, most people find it easier to stick with Kismet, so they don't have to switch between Windows and Linux.

Another FBI agent started Kismet and immediately found the NETGEARWEP access point. Just for fun, a third agent used his laptop and ran FakeAP, a program that confuses scanning programs by putting up fake access points.


After a target WLAN is found, the next step is to start capturing packets and convert them into pcap (short for packet capture) format. These pcap files will then be processed by other programs. Many programs, both commercial and open source, can be used to capture packets, but the two favorites seem to be Kismet or Airodump (now part of Aircrack). Ideally, one laptop should be scanning, while another laptop will be running the attack—which is what the FBI team did.