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Wireless Sniffing on the XO

The OLPC XO is a wireless device and as such would be very handy to use for sniffing wireless networks. However, sniffing on Linux is not a very straightforward process because it heavily depends on the device hardware and the drivers that are installed.

Fortunately, because of the intent of the XO and its targeted location, sniffing capabilities are included. This might not make sense at first, but the OLPC is unique in that it contains mesh WLAN (802.11s) and traditional WLAN (802.11b/g) capabilities. To figure out problems, remote sites will have no other tools but the XO, which means the XO has to have sniffing capabilities to do its job.

Scanning might be possible, but this is the XO we're talking about. In other words, the device can do wireless monitoring, but it isn't going to be as simple as typing in an iwconfig command. This is because the XO obfuscates the technical side of Linux behind a bunch of custom scripts and GUI overlays, which, as we have learned, can get in the way of the users who prefer to control their own system.

That said, here is what you need to do to set your wireless card into monitor mode and start sniffing the airwaves. From the command line:

export TRAFFIC_MASK=0x7
killall NetworkManager
echo $TRAFFIC_MASK > /sys/class/net/eth0/device/libertas_rtap
ifconfig rtap0 up 

Once monitor mode is enabled on the device, sniffing the networks is as easy as using the following command:

tcpdump -s 1500 -i rtap0 -w $CAPTURE_FILE &> /dev/null &

From here the options are limitless. For example, you can install dsniff to steal passwords, use programs such as aircrack-ng to crack WEP and WPA passwords—not to mention capture anything passing over an unprotected wireless network. For details, check out the following site on how to perform wireless hacking on the OLPC: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Wireless_network_hacking.

Granted, wireless hacking from the XO is not child's play. But if you've made it this far, you're either a very gifted child or someone whose age is greater than your years of education. Either way, having the ability to sniff a wireless network is really only the beginning when it comes to hacking/cracking the data. It will take some time and patience to successfully use the OLPC XO for this purpose, so be sure you are ready to spend several hours behind a miniature keyboard!

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