Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Rogue Access Points

How many times have you been at a store or restaurant and they have free WiFi? Now, how often do you actually look at the name of the network? Many times we just connect to them near blindly, or at least without looking at it in detail. At some locations you will find an access point, of course it is an open network, and the business does not even offer in store WiFi.
A few days ago I went to a Waffle House and they have free WiFi, so for fun I turned the wireless on my tablet, there was two networks avaIlable. One of these was stronger than the other, one of these was the real one and the other one was a rogue access point that was run from the hotel next door.
The name of the rogue access point was names Waffle House Guest. This access point was sitting there waiting for people to connect, masquerading as the real access point. I could tell that the other access point was the genuine article because it had individual isolation, the rogue access point did not nor did it have any of the standard protections. There were a total of 25 devices connected to that network, most of those devices were phones but about five were laptops.
After doing a short package capture, I found it very interesting after looking at the capture that someone was logging into their bank. Most of the people were logged into their email and social media accounts, although many of them were actual secure connections, some were not.
The reality is that when you connect to someone's network they legally look at everything you do on your network. Most, if not all, of the companies that offer free WiFi are not looking at what you are doing. Now the rogue access point is another story, they are their just to get what they can from you while you are connected. By connecting to their access point you are giving them that permission to view whatever you are doing, now what they do with it many times is not.

Scott Gamet
CompTIA A+, Network+

Friday, January 17, 2014

The End of XP

Microsoft has announced an end of service date for Windows XP, what does this mean? Well the short answer is nothing. Although Microsoft will no longer be supporting XP that does not mean it will no longer be able to access the internet or, my personal favorite, that it will uninstall itself. These are just some of the stories that I have hear, the scariest past is that I have heard these things from IT professionals.

The reality of an end of life, or end of service, is that there will be no more updates or direct support from Microsoft. The operating system will continue to work, and you will not notice anything different. Microsoft always has an end if service for their software, just like other companies. If they didn't no one would upgrade to newer software. With upgrades to Windows 7 and 8 there are options for direct transitions from XP to these releases, not to mention the additional features and services that are available in these newer releases.

Scott Gamet
CompTIA A+, Network+