See who’s on your wireless network – SoftPerfect WiFi Guard

Want to see who is on your wireless?  SoftPerfect’s  WiFi Guard is freeware that scans your network, both wireless and wired and it also inventories connections on your network.

Before setting up WiFi Guard, inventory your computers, printers, routers, TVs and other devices that use your network.  Get each devices’ MAC address.  Load WiFi Guard and mark each device as trusted.  WiFi Guard’s settings allows you to set a scan interval and to put comments on devices that you know.  In the event a new device is connected to your network, you’ll be alerted.

taskbar

Scanned

 

 

Set a scan interval that meets your needs.Settings 

WiFi Guard keeps a history of devices that connect to your network.History

SoftPerfect WiFi Guard

The Ultimate Toolkit for IT Professionals – GE Geek Toolkit

I discovered GE Geek through Rick at What’s On My PC.  GE Geek is a resource like no other.  The time and dedication to linking and uploading the thousands of resources at GE Geek is commendable.

The best feature by far is GE Geek’s Toolkit that contains 1.7 gigabytes of tools that every IT pro needs.

“A complete collection of over 300 Portable Freeware Tech Related
programs, all accessible from one Menu Launcher Utility. There’s
even a program to update all the essential programs automatically,
all contained on a USB/Flash drive for travel.” ~GE Geek

Here’s a short list of the categories -

Apps to Install
App Updates
App Uninstallers
BackUps
Benchmarking
Compression
Configurations
Diagnostics
Drivers
FTP Tools
Internet
Maintenance
Malware Removal
Multimedia
Network Tools
Recovery
Remote Tools
Repair Tools 1
Repair Tools 2
Scripts
Search
Security
System Information
System Tools
Tweaking Tools
Windows Services Defaults
Windows 7 Tools
Windows 7 Troubleshooting
Windows 7 / 8 Shortcuts
Dozens more
getoolkit 

 

Here’s a Snapshot of his Site. You have to visit the site to get an understanding of how this has to be one of the best sites on the web for IT Professionals.   Link

SnapShot

An introduction to Big Data – RackSpace’s CloudU MOOC

CloudU

Several years ago we introduced you to CloudU. A perfect introduction to how the ‘cloud’ works.  CloudU by RackSpace now has a MOOC (Mass Open Online Course) that introduces you to Big Data.

According to Wikipedia, Big Data is a term used to describe a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications. Thats a great definition but its only one. This topic is too big to base this learning series on one definition so we asked the brightest minds in academia and the cloud industry the same question, “What is Big Data”? We are confident you will enjoy their insights and take away a broader perspective on big data.       Sign up, it’s free (Link)

Earlier Post

“After contacting Rackspace so that my students could benefit from the cloud university curriculum as a supplement.   I was met with open arms and personally talked with Greg Alfaro, Michael Ferranti and Ben Kepes either by phone or email.   Here’s a quote from Ben. - “CloudU is an excellent resource for anyone wanting to learn about Cloud Computing. As an instructor of information technology, the certificate provides a great learning tool for the planning, deployment and logistics behind cloud computing.”    ~ Ben Kepes

Tweak your wireless router

Many people who set up their wireless routers never optimize the channel to keep from ‘bumping’ into their neighbors.  Regardless if you are a Apple, Linux or Windows user, you should select a channel as far away from your neighbors devices as you can.   Use WiFi Analyzer for Android, (Apple), or InSSIDer for a PC to see what channels are being used around your home or business.

The second tip is involves fragmentation..   We don’t have one or two internet devices anymore, we have four or more.   Computers, laptops, netbooks, e-readers such as Kindles or Nooks, iPods, iPhones, Android tablets, iPads, Android, Windows Phones, Blurays, TVs and more.    So how can this be optimized?   These devices send packets of data in frames.

Imagine you talking.   Each word is a packet and the packets together are a sentence.   In a wireless environment, each device has to wait for the other to complete their sentence before it can talk.

Computer talking to router – ” I am going to WordPress to read a blog!”

Tablet waits on router and says – “I want to go to YouTube!”

Your router listens to the computer while the tablet is waiting.   The router processes the computer’s request and then listens to the tablet.   So how can this be optimized?

The default fragmentation for routers is 2346.  Many professionals recommend to set this at 800 or 1000 if there are many devices on your network.   So your router should work like this -

Computer and Tablet say – “I am going to – I want to go to – WordPress to read – YouTube! – a blog!”

See how each device gets a small piece of what it wants to say in to the router?  The router can process the information a little at a time keeping each devices wait time down.   This in  turn works with the RTS Threshold.

The RTS Threshold is  used as a trigger to engage the back and forth of RTS (Ready to Send – “I have something to say”) and CTS (Clear to Send – “I am listening”) messages between the wireless router  and  your device.  The trigger’s purpose is a type of “handshaking”.   The default value for RTS is 2347.   Try 2340 and lower as necessary. 

Note: Before changing these defaults, remember – you can reset these if you cannot connect.  Read your owner’s manual on how to reset your router in the event you have connectivity problems.  Every situation is different.  

Here’s my settings on Fragmentation and RTS Threshold.

wireless

The preamble should be set to short.   Long is for 802.11b  devices (old legacy laptops or devices).  Auto is just in case you have someone with old computers that are coming into your home.   Auto works for old and new.   Generally older devices today have 802.11g.   802.11g and 802.11n work with long.   So if you don’t anticipate someone visiting with older devices, move the preamble to short.

DTIM is a traffic indicator.  It basically says – “Yo, I got something for you” during the beacon.  Setting this 1 point higher can actually save power when devices are listening.   So the device will awaken only when DTIM tells it to.

These settings are for people who have several devices on their network and are true consumers of the internet.   They are by no means the settings for everyone.   You may have to play with the settings to get optimal throughput.  Remember, test your bandwidth with two devices side by side and simultaneously.   Have each device strain your network by testing their throughput by going to an ISP site that test download speeds or stream a video at the same time.  You’ll see a difference.   The default values very well may be what you need if you don’t have many users and devices.

Give it a try.  You can always go back to your routers default values.

The dangers of using outdated software


 Outdated software contains security flaws which cybercriminals can use as avenues to infiltrate the corporate network.

The dangers of using outdated software.

AlphiMAX PTP Estimator provides an excellent way to align your wireless antennas

Need an excellent program to estimate your wireless bridges from building to building?  AlphiMAX provides an excellent online program to estimate your wireless links.

Sign up is easy and fast.  The PTP Estimator requires that you have the Latitude and Longitude of both buildings.  You can get an estimated Lat. and Long. from Google maps.  Find your location on Google maps (you should use a GPS) and right click on the location you want then select “What’s here?” .    This will provide the numbers you need.  Remember, it is best to use a GPS on each site where you intend to erect an antenna.

PTP Estimator

You can also search for a location by name by clicking the area in the center of the online application.  icon

Once you have the Lat. and Long., enter the numbers at the top of the online application.  Click Estimate.

Entering LatandLong

The interface will show you the terrain, Antenna height, compass information, Fresnel Zone Clearance, approximate altitude,  along with product information they provide.

Aligned

 

The estimator also offers a 3D view of your project if you have an active subscription.

AlphiMAX Company Overview
AlphiMAX provides products to help you with your wireless needs.

How to guard your wireless network and see intruders

100% credit goes to Bill Mullins for sharing this information. (BillMullins.wordpress.com).

Softperfect has some of the best freeware for Windows.   With Netscan you can see devices on your network and find information about the  devices.  Now with their software “WiFi  Guard”, you can use a device on your network and find the devices that are attached to it.

While you should take precautions to secure your wireless network, is someone accessing your network without your knowledge?

Installation is fast and easy.  Simply follow the wizard and make sure you run the software at startup.

Scan

Once you install the software, select the adapter and scan your network.  Next double click on known devices and select “I know this device.”  Let the software run and periodically scan your network.   If you find a device connecting to it,   locate the device and remove it from the network or take action to prevent unknown devices from connecting.

I Know

The software is designed to run on Apple, Windows or Linux.

Note: The above pic is from a lab environment and the addresses and macs do not represent real machines or a production environment.

Protecting your network by pen testing it

This post is for educational purposes and any use of these tools against a network without explicit permission could be illegal.   Metasploit is designed to identify weaknesses in networks and hardware/software on a network.  Do NOT use metasploit for other reasons.

Want to protect your network and the computers in your network?  You can get updates for your operating systems (Linux, Mac, iOS, Android, Windows or whatever) along with updates for third party programs yet you can still be unsecure.    When updating these products, you also have to remember firmware and updates for wireless devices, access points, bridges, firewalls, routers, switches, SCADA devices, robots, mobile devices, printers and any device on your network.

Metasploit

http://www.metasploit.com/download/

Metasploit Community is free and allows for a free scan of your network or server. Although limited (Try Pro for details and Brute Force), Metasploit Community is a first step in finding open services and ports on your operating system, hardware devices such as routers and other devices.   The trick to installing Metasploit is to disable your antivirus or make exceptions to what your antivirus finds.   You should truly install the software inside of a VM (Virtual Machine) so that your computer remains protected.

You can use Metasploit to protect your network by ‘seeing’ what a hacker or malicious person would see.  Truly for network professionals and auditors, this software can help you identify services, ports and weaknesses in your network.

There are several versions of Metasploit – Community, Pro, Express and Framework (Compare Editions)

Metasploit     Metasploit Two

Metasploit Scan Complete     metasploit Hosts

Metasploit Services After Scan

The above scan was in a controlled lab.  Malicious scanning of networks may be illegal.  Read  Penetration Basics on Metasploit’s website.

Tutorials (Videos)

Your business and home needs a firewall…why?

So what happens when you install a firewall and make sure all operating systems on your home network are fresh installs?

craziness

 

You’ll probably see hits from foreign and U.S. IP addresses trying to make connections to your computers, phones and other devices on your network.   You’ll also notice common port numbers in the above log.  So what would happen if any of the services and ports were open?  It could result in the loss of data.

What should you do?  Install a hardware SOHO firewall and keep your OS firewall on.  While there are tons of other precautions you also need to take, ultimately this is a form of protection most home users and business users fail to implement.

Credit: Chris Davis

What should you do with an old computer? Create a home router/firewall!

ITX-motherboards can often be found in older computers from garage sales or thrift stores.  What is the practical use for these motherboards or older computers?

Here’s a small project that involves protecting your home.

After finding an ITX motherboard and gathering extra parts from broken laptops and computers, this project will put the software SMOOTHWALL Express onto the computer to make a mini firewall.  Total cost?

  • $22 250watt power supply
  • $5 Gearhead mini keyboard

0306141659a

Base processor
Athlon 64 X2 (B) 5400+ 2.8 GHz (65W)
800 MHz front side bus
Socket AM2

Chipset
GeForce 9100

Motherboard

  • Manufacturer: Pegatron
  • Motherboard Name: APX78-BN
  • HP/Compaq motherboard name: Nutmeg-GL6E

Power supply
250W

Memory
240 Pin DDR2 PC2-6400 MB/sec
4GB
Hard drive
120 GB SATA 6G (6.0 Gb/sec)
7200 rpm

Video Graphics

Integrated on motherboard (NVidia 9100)

Sound/Audio
High Definition 6-channel audio
ALC 888S chipset

Network (LAN)
Integrated 10/100 Base-T networking interface
Added Broadcom wireless to create a wireless router

External I/O ports connections – 6  USB

Expansion slots

PCI Express mini card socket – added Broadcom Wireless
PCI Express x16
PCI Express x1

Additions-

  • 2″ Fan for Chipset

In the video below, HAK5 shows just how to make a motherboard like this into a nice home router/Firewall.

Solving The Security Workforce Shortage – DarkReading

According to the study, the most sought-after quality is a broad knowledge of security — more of a strategic understanding than technical know-how followed by certifications.  Read More

Opinion – While certifications are an important part of IT, the technical know-how is the most important. Getting a degree or a certification is a great advancement for your education but can you configure a firewall? Run Linux-OSX- Windows? Support mobile, wireless, servers with Active Directory and monitor and control an IT environment?   That’s the difference between $12 an hour and a career.

FREE – Security engineering training by SAFECode

FREE – How can you beat it?  Once again, another excellent site has training that is Free.   While we have found Rackspace’s Cloud University,  Free Microsoft Training and virtualization this site adds an additional form of training that can help you supplement your training programs.

“Security engineering training by SAFECode is an online community resource offering free software security training courses delivered via on-demand webcasts.

Covering issues from preventing SQL injection to avoiding cross site request forgery, the courses are designed to be used as building blocks for those looking to create an in-house training program for their product development teams, as well as individuals interested in enhancing their skills. All courses are free and published under a Creative Commons license and open, non-commercial usage of the content is encouraged.

SAFECode will be adding new courses to the site on an ongoing basis. Our goal is to create a diverse catalog of security engineering training courses for all expertise levels as a community resource.”
https://training.safecode.org/

SAFECODE

“While registration is not required to view the courses, registered users of the site will benefit from the ability to:
–Download courses for offline viewing
–Post comments to provide feedback on the courses and ideas for updates.
Your feedback will be used to help keep the material up-to-date and ensure it best meet the needs of the community it aims to serve.
–Receive email updates when new courses and resources are available”