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3 Best WiFi Cards for Network Penetration Security Testing

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Network Testing is sometimes referred to WiFi Cracking - which is illegial in most countries. The difference between cracker and tester is that the latter has obtained permission from the owner of the network about to be cracked. We test networks by attempting to crack them in order to expose security vulnerabilities such as weak encryption, weak passwords, technology shortcomings. In cracking, the wireless card you are using is an obvious bottleneck if it is very old and slow with poor range. This is why it pays to shop around for quality hardware before you start. 

For the purposes of Network penetration testing, the card should be able to perform two additional functions:

  1. Must be able to enter monitoring mode
  2. Must be able to preform packet injections

Here are the three top of the line wireless cards that excel at penetration testing. Using these will save you lots of time and frustration. They are fast, reliable and perform very well indoors as well as out. 

 

Linksys WUSB54GC Compact Wireless-G USB Adapter

Cisco-Linksys WUSB54GC Compact Wireless-G USB Adapter
Amazon Price: $49.99 $24.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 1, 2013)
The Linksys chipset by Cisco is a robust and versatile piece of equipment that has been around for some time. It has native support for all of the new encryption security protocols and is g/b compatible.

Pros, Cons and Verdict

Pros

  • Seamlessly enters monitoring mode that is necessary to capture packets. We were able to set it up and get going in just under 15 minutes on Linux Backtrack
  • Able to perform Packet Injection for testing purposes. WUSB54GC driver on Linux has a built-in function for packet injection.
  • Lots of support information and how-to guides all over the internet.

Cons

  • It is an older model so it does not have dual band features. 
  • USB construction can be bulky if you are tight on space. 
  • Slower when compared to others - at 54mbps. 

Verdict

Overall, We loved this card! It was embarrassingly cheap on amazon and delivery was within 3 days. We tested it with all the versions of backtrack available and they all worked great. 

 

 

ORiNOCO 8494 USB Client Adapter - USB - 300Mbps - IEEE 802.11n

ORiNOCO 8494 USB Client Adapter - USB - 300Mbps - IEEE 802.11n (draft)
Amazon Price: $83.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 1, 2013)
Unmatched reception, even from as far as 500 meters. Automatic driver installation on windows and Linux detects it no problem.

Pros, Cons and Verdict

Pros

  • There are drivers available for Orinoco on ubuntu which will allow this card to enter monitoring mode with no issues. 
  • For packet injections, there is a driver on the CD accompanying the adapter. 
  • Dual band wireless adapter. 
  • Extremely fast at 300mbps.

Cons

  • Can be pricey, but it is coming from the best wi-fi chipset manufacturers i know. 
  • Windows 7 may need a driver installation (cd included) - i consider this a minus. 

Verdict

Overall, we were very satisfied with this product. It came on time and did exactly as advertised. Proxim is on my good books because of this. I particularly liked the stylish design with vent holes. These seem to be necessary because the card does heat up during heavy use. 

 

 

TP-Link TL-WN321G 54Mbps Wireless USB Adapter

TP-Link TL-WN321G 54Mbps Wireless USB Adapter
Amazon Price: $84.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 1, 2013)
Based on ATHEROS chipset which has a proven track record as a favourite chipset for network testing. Comes with incredible features that you don't find on your average adapter such as the ability to act as an access point, PSP connection support and infrastructure roaming.

Pros, Cons and Verdict

Pros

  • AMAZING customer support that responds to bad reviews on amazon with help and suggestions.
  • THE BEST packet injection support in the industry. I did not need to install any additional drivers for Linux. 
  • Is able to enter monitoring mode on request in Linux. 

Cons

  • Not liked by windows 7, (resolved with the new Service Pack patch).
  • Win XP support is lacking.
  • Some people have connectivity issues but this is almost always because of old routers.

Verdict

This is a solid piece of hardware with tried and tested technology. If in trouble, you can always find lots of support online. For the enthusiast, there is an upgraded version of this card for the N technology but it is receiving mixed reviews. If you are interested here is the link for the newer version with N tech:

TP-LINK TL-WDN3200 Dual Band Wireless N600 USB Adapter, 2.4GHz 300Mbps/5Ghz 300Mbps, WPS Button, 802.1a/b/g/n, WEP, WPA/WPA2
Amazon Price: $32.94 $19.25 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 1, 2013)
cheaper and newer version for N technology variant. This is a cheapo alternative for the more professional cards. It performs well and you wont cry too much if it breaks. You will get MAD performance with it, at 300mbs, it tests my router to perform its best.
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