Kismet | Monitor Nearby Wi-Fi Devices | Parrot Security 3.11

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Use Kismet to Watch Wi-Fi User Activity Through Walls

Your home has walls for privacy, but Wi-Fi signals passing through them and can be detected up to a mile away with a directional Wi-Fi antenna and a direct line of sight. An amazing amount of information can be learned from this data, including when residents come and go, the manufacturer of all nearby wireless devices, and what on the network is in use at any given time.

While we've covered Kismet for wardriving, in which we added a GPS to the mix and drove around to geolocate wireless networks, using Kismet in a fixed position can yield more nuanced information about fixed targets. Rather than simply looking for what access points are out there, Kismet is excellent at displaying relationships between devices over time.

Using Kismet to spy on users draws from signal intelligence techniques, in which we try to learn about something we can't see by the signals it's giving off. In this case, we are dealing with Wi-Fi, and what we are trying to see is routers and connected devices, human activity, and what devices belong to who. This is enough to piece together a lot more than you might think.

If you knew someone could see not just if you were home or not, but whether you were on your PlayStation or your laptop at any given time, you might be more inclined to switch to a wired network or at least turn Wi-Fi off on devices when you're not using them.

To work its magic, Kismet uses a wireless network card put in monitor mode to silently scan all available Wi-Fi channels in range for wireless packets. These packets can be automated beacon frames, which wireless APs broadcast multiple times per second, data packets exchanged from associated devices, or probe frames from devices nearby which aren't yet connected to a network but are searching for a network to connect to.

Hiding Your Activity from Cheap & Easy Wireless Surveillance:
Earlier, I mentioned that Wi-Fi can be detected nearly a mile away using a directional Wi-Fi antenna. These signals are so strong that they are a backup for GPS navigation for the military via NAVSOP (Navigation via Signals of Opportunity). If the military can fly planes by the light of your Wi-Fi network, maybe it's time to consider if you need it turned to the very highest setting, which it almost definitely is right now, in order to just get Wi-Fi in your house or business.

Most people have logged into their router exactly once and never change any of the settings beyond the required ones. While the instructions are different for each brand of router, nearly every brand will have a power setting. You can turn this down. Way down. Manufacturers jack it all the way up by default so that you don't complain about the signal strength. If you don't have trouble with your Wi-Fi range, reduce it so it only covers the area you need.

Anything you want kept secret should be hard-wired, plain and simple. If you can't block the signals from going out of your house and being picked up by a sensitive antenna, don't put those signals out in the first place. If you have to, you can use Kismet to test the range of when someone can pick up data from your network.

Hiding Your Devices from the Kismet List:
For client devices, including smartphones, turn off the Wi-Fi setting whenever you don't need it. Your Wi-Fi card can be used to track you anywhere, not just at home or work. This is true even while you are not connected to Wi-Fi. Devices that rely on Wi-Fi to function you can't do much about.

Smartphone manufacturers try to randomize the MAC address that your phone advertises while walking around, but this goes out the window as soon as the phone tries to associate with a network it thinks it knows. This is super easy to do to a crowd of people, which means it doesn't stand up to a real attack. Don't believe me? If you change your phone's mobile hotspot to "Google Starbucks," nearly every smartphone nearby will connect to you and reveal it's true MAC address, allowing you to track it.

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Kismet | Monitor Nearby Wi-Fi Devices | Parrot Security 3.11 Kismet | Monitor Nearby Wi-Fi Devices | Parrot Security 3.11 Reviewed by Unknown on March 19, 2018 Rating: 5