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$5 off new edition of my book on using Macs with Wi-Fi: Folks, I've just thoroughly overhauled my book on Apple Wi-Fi networking, Take Control of Your 802.11n AirPort Network. The latest edition, 244 pages long, costs $15--but for you fine people, just $10 with a $5 coupon.
The book covers how to use an AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule base station from Apple with Mac OS X and Windows for the best advantage. The latest Extreme model, along with Time Capsule, can share multiple printers and hard drives to Macs or Windows systems. With 802.11n built in along with options for wireless and Ethernet connection, you can build a robust network that can handle video streaming and large-file transfers.
The coupon code CPN007281031WNN can be used at checkout to pay just $10 for this $15 instantly available electronic book.
Yours truly and his colleagues at Take Control Books have just released the latest updates to our electronic books on Wi-Fi: My two books (one co-authored with Adam Engst) on Wi-Fi are now ready for purchase in their latest updated flavors. Wi-Fi Networking News readers can get 30 percent either or both titles by following the links below, or using coupon code CPN71005WNN. (Discount appears at checkout. You can jump straight to a checkout cart with both books and the discount by clicking here.)
Take Control of Your 802.11n AirPort Extreme Network covers using Apple's latest, fastest AirPort Extreme technology to its best advantage, including mixing older and newer Wi-Fi gear, and designing the best network architecture for homes and small offices. Includes details for Mac OS X 10.4, Windows XP, and Windows Vista setup. This revised edition covers the newer gigabit Ethernet version of the AirPort Extreme with N. This edition includes a new, separate section explaining how to set up a network with multiple base stations either via Ethernet or via wireless using Wireless Distribution System. (171 pages, $10 before 30% discount)
Take Control of Your Wi-Fi Security offers a comprehensive look at securing a Wi-Fi network for homes, home offices, and small businesses. We cover how to evaluate your risk, which security options to choose, and how it all works, including WEP, WPA, WPA2, 802.1X, WPS, and many, many more acronyms. The book guides you to setting up a secure network, and keeping secure on the road with SSL/TLS, SSH, a VPN, and other methods. We also detail how to secure an iPhone, and the ways in which it simply can't be secured for in-transit data. (114 pages, $10.00 before 30% discount)
We've also released the 2004 edition of The Wireless Networking Starter Kit (2nd edition) at no cost as an electronic download. While the information is outdated in places--and the Take Control books refresh those details--we still think it's a good guide to the principles of Wi-Fi, how to set up a network, and how to use hotspot networks safely.
Book by the infamous Johnny Cache and his colleague Vincent Liu frankly rocks: Johnny Cache--the nom de Net of Jon Ellch--achieved notoriety for his efforts last summer alongside colleague David Maynor to expose wireless weaknesses in leading drivers and operating systems. Neatly glossing across the validity and provability of their claims--Maynor's promised code release in January still has not occurred--there's no question that Maynor, Ellch, and a number of their gray-hat colleagues have changed the way in which vulnerabilities are discovered and vectors exploited. Their techniques of fuzzing--throwing massive amounts of badly formatted data at a device, program, or service and seeing what sticks--should be used by all companies to stress test their products before release. Sadly, they still are not.
Ellch's book Hacking Exposed Wireless, co-written with Liu, a security expert I had no prior knowledge of, is a great primer on wireless technology, and a great read. I enjoyed it immensely--and that's not a phrase I typically use with the often dense, impenetrable books on technology and security I frequently encounter when trying to bump up my knowledge. Technical books are often hard to read because they have to convey so much detail, and there's no room to take a step back and breathe in a little life. This book reads breezily, maybe too much at times or for some people who want nothing but the deadly dull stuff. There's a narrative here, and I like that.
I would also rarely call a hacking or technical book charming, but this one is. Chapter 10 takes the form of a long story to show how a Bluetooth-based attack could allow someone's life to be exposed and monitored; in this case, it's both benign and creepy. The story is well written. Take this paragraph, for instance, with Bluejacker Jake noticing Monica, the woman whose phone he's hacked, enter a cafe she frequents:
"While she ordered her drink and waited for the barista to brew it up, Jake went to work. He pressed ENTER on his btftp connection and quickly pasted his command buffer into the window. After what seemed like an eternity, a connection banner from btftp greeted Jake. Seconds later, what appeared to be a directory listing appeared on the screen." (And, no, Monica never maces Jake, and Jake never menaces Monica. Maybe in the sequel.)
The book covers the basics with plenty of detail, recapitulating what you might read elsewhere but with a security and attack profile focus. There are runthroughs of many attacks and potential vectors for attack, as well as what to do once you've gained access. And, because this is gray-hat stuff, the section on defense lets you get your guard up after you've figured out what you have that can be broken.
I'd recommend this book as the first step for anyone trying to gain a fundamental and comprehensive understanding of the state of wireless cracking and attacks. You will find sentences like, "LORCON currently comes with a set of patches for host-ap, wlan-ng, prism54, MadWifi, rt2500/rt2570, and rtl8189." But that dense listing is followed by very comprehensible explanations of each element, how it works, and how to obtain it.
My new ebook, Take Control of Your 802.11n AirPort Extreme Network, is out: The 154-page electronic book (immediate download) covers every aspect of using Apple's new 802.11n base station and client adapters, including how to set up a side-by-side legacy network (802.11b/g in 2.4 GHz) and new 802.11n (5 GHz), choosing the right band and channel, the benefits and logistics of adding shared hard drives via the base station, and connecting an Apple TV to the network. I run through all the security options now available, including Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), which Apple has integrated into both its operating system and its base station firmware.
The book costs $10. Wait, did I say $10? As a Wi-Fi Networking News reader, you get 10-percent off (paying $9) by following this link or using this coupon code: CPN005070406WNN. Excerpts are available through that link, as well the full table of contents, and other details.
I spoke to Chuck Joiner at MacVoices about 802.11n networking in general and Apple's flavor in particular in a podcast.
Take Control of Your AirPort Network is an ebook aimed at Mac users who want to build, secure, and extend a wireless network: My latest book -- electronic only, $5, 89 pages -- covers the ins and outs of setting up a wireless network for Macintosh users. I spend a lot of time covering Apple AirPort, the dominant method by which Mac users cut the cord, but I also present the less expensive alternatives and associated tradeoffs.
The book covers how to choose a base station, solving basic configuration problems, and has an 11-page section on setting up your own dynamic addressing using DHCP and NAT through a variety of techniques. I also go deep on extending range and securing a setup, with appendixes that include configuring AirPort Express (shipping any day now), and picking alternative Wi-Fi adapters for both older and newer Macs.
The idea behind this series of books is to provide highly focused, short titles at a low price. For five bucks, how can you go wrong?
Nobody likes to make enemies, but I have to be honest about the dollar-to-content value of this book: Let me be clear from the outset. I don't know any of the authors of this book, except by reputation, and have nothing but the highest regard for their technical knowledge and their achievements. The folks who wrote WarDriving: Drive, Detect, Defend are experts about most of what they write about, and offer great technical insights and tips throughout.
That said, I can't recommend this book primarily because the best advice is already available on the Web for free in much the same form; chunks of the most practical early part of the book are repetitive to cover different operating systems or scenarios with the same approach; the middle part of the book comprises a 60-page-long set of anecdotes with long code extracts; and the last part of the book features security advice that's somewhat strange focusing on commercial software and hardware that's obscure and hard to use and mostly out of keeping with the kind of audience that could possibly be interested in this title.
A factor that led to book bloat (520 pages, no CD-ROM, $49.99) is the lengthy reproduction of code, sometimes double spaced that a reader must be expected to input rather than download or copy and paste from a Web page. Further, many of the programs seem too idiosyncratic to be of general utility, arguing against their inclusion in the printed book even if other programs were printed in full.
For fairness's sake, after reading this book a few weeks ago, I sent the publisher's publicist contact my remarks and a list of errors found in the book. I was promised some follow up and didn't get it, so the statute of limitations of waiting for a response to specifics has ended. I should also make it clear that I have co-written a book on wireless networking which has practically no overlap with this book.
In general, the book is best at collecting and providing documentation on the trickiest aspects of scanning for, recording, and defending against wardriving and Wi-Fi network cracking. Some of the areas on defense are the strongest in the book, although other areas seem highly misguided.
From the first page of the book to the end of Chapter 7, page 243, it's at its strongest. It's a cogent, how-to guide to installing and using stumbling and detection software. While much of this could be found online, it's the best use of screen captures, code excerpts, configuration details, and tips. If the book had ended on page 243 and cost, say, $30, I'd be giving it an entirely positive review.
My only real problem with that first chunk is on pages 5 and 6, where warchalking is treated contemptuously for no good reason I can determine. The sidebar makes it sound like warchalking was a media invention instead of a set of simple graphics invented by Matt Jones. (For some odd reason, there's a sub-class of writers who are Jones deniers or ignorers--a major newsmagazine refused my request to correct a statement in a Wi-Fi article that read "nobody knows who invented warchalking," for instance.) There's also a specious survey of 48 people who have never seen a warchalking mark in the wild, "proving" that warchalking doesn't exist.
But contradictorily, warchalking is then used throughout the rest of the book. It's used to identify software, meeting points, the WorldWide Wardrive--and that doesn't include the companies like Jiwire or hotspots community and commercial that have adopted the )( symbol. I can't quite figure out the rant's purpose or intent. It doesn't matter if warchalking marks have appeared spontaneously on pavement; it does matter that a recognizable graphic element has entered the group consciousness, which the book proves it has.
The book abruptly shifts into anecdote in Chapter 8 starting on page 245 and continuing through many DefCons and WorldWide Wardrives and fully reproduced scripts to page 313. I'm sure to offend the author of that section, but dropping the scripts and condensing the long stories of interest primarily to the participants--do we really care about the parking lot at the hotel?--would have provided better advice for creating wardrives and contests. A few pages of anecdote, downloadable code, and a tightly written set of guidelines and principles would have been much more useful.
Chapter 9 effectively covers a range of methods to compromise encryption or networks, and offers good advice about it. But the remainder of the book is spotty. It has quite basic chunks on using WEP and WPA which seem out of place--more manual-like than book-like. And the authors spend quite a while covering one free (from Reefedge, but at no charge) and three commercial methods (Linksys, Microsoft, and Funk) of securing access, some of which are quite extraordinary, such as using a Linksys VPN router to configure an end-to-end tunnel to secure traffic. I've tried using that Linksys VPN to do that, and even with the number of pages devoted to it in this book, it's not for the faint of heart.
The coverage of using EAP-TLS over 802.1X as a reasonable method baffles me. It requires a public key infrastructure, and has several alternatives, including PEAP and EAP-TTLS, that avoid the PKI issue entirely. PEAP can be implemented for free, as well, instead of using a commercial server.
Oddly, too, there's no reference to FreeRADIUS which has Wi-Fi authentication components, or the discontinued but still robust FreeS/WAN network encryption management system--which seem like no-brainers to include or at least mention.
I haven't even mentioned that the choice of spelling wardriving as WarDriving throughout the book is slightly distracting.
Other errors point to a potentially long genesis of the book, which may explain why it feels outdate in parts but completely timely in others. On page 372, the WRT54G configuration is shown using firmware that's a year old, which is very strange given that that was a pre-certification 802.11g release, and didn't include WPA, either. The book covers NetStumbler's 0.4.0 release, which postdated release of the book.
I wanted to like or even love this book, but only parts of it are compelling. At fifty bucks, I'd rather buy a Wi-Fi card and spent my time researching configuration online.