Your Wi-Fi network is your conveniently wireless gateway to the internet, and since you're not keen on sharing your connection with any old hooligan who happens to be walking past your home, you secure your network with a password, right? Knowing, as you might, how easy it is to crack a WEP password, you probably secure your network using the more bulletproof WPA security protocol. Here's the bad news: A new, free, open-source tool called Reaver exploits a security hole in wireless routers and can crack most routers' current passwords with relative ease. Here's how to crack a WPA or WPA2 password, step by step, with Reaver—and how to protect your network against Reaver attacks. In the first section of this post, I'll walk through the steps required to crack a WPA password using Reaver. You can follow along with either the video or the text below. After that, I'll explain how Reaver works, and what you can do to protect your network against Reaver attacks. First, a quick note: As we remind often remind readers when we discuss topics that appear potentially malicious: Knowledge is power, but power doesn't mean you should be a jerk, or do anything illegal. Knowing how to pick a lock doesn't make you a thief. Consider this post educational, or a proof-of-concept intellectual exercise. The more you know, the better you can protect yourself. What You'll Need
You don't have to be a networking wizard to use Reaver, the command-line tool that does the heavy lifting, and if you've got a blank DVD, a computer with compatible Wi-Fi, and a few hours on your hands, you've got basically all you'll need. There are a number of ways you could set up Reaver, but here are the specific requirements for this guide: The BackTrack 5 Live DVD. BackTrack is a bootable Linux distribution that's filled to the brim with network testing tools, and while it's not strictly required to use Reaver, it's the easiest approach for most users. Download the Live DVD from BackTrack's download page and burn it to a DVD. You can alternately download a virtual machine image if you're using VMware, but if you don't know what VMware is, just stick with the Live DVD. As of this writing, that means you should select BackTrack 5 R1 from the Release drop-down, select Gnome, 32- or 64-bit depending on your CPU (if you don't know which you have, 32 is a safe bet), ISO for image, and then download the ISO. A computer with Wi-Fi and a DVD drive. BackTrack will work with the wireless card on most laptops, so chances are your laptop will work fine. However, BackTrack doesn't have a full compatibility list, so no guarantees. You'll also need a DVD drive, since that's how you'll boot into BackTrack. I used a six-year-old MacBook Pro. A nearby WPA-secured Wi-Fi network. Technically, it will need to be a network using WPA security with the WPS feature enabled. I'll explain in more detail in the "How Reaver Works" section how WPS creates the security hole that makes WPA cracking possible. A little patience. This is a 4-step process, and while it's not terribly difficult to crack a WPA password with Reaver, it's a brute-force attack, which means your computer will be testing a number of different combinations of cracks on your router before it finds the right one. When I tested it, Reaver took roughly 2.5 hours to successfully crack my password. The Reaver home page suggests it can take anywhere from 4-10 hours. Your mileage may vary. Let's Get Crackin'
At this point you should have BackTrack burned to a DVD, and you should have your laptop handy. Step 1: Boot into BackTrack
To boot into BackTrack, just put the DVD in your drive and boot your machine from the disc. (Google around if you don't know anything about live CDs/DVDs and need help with this part.) During the boot process, BackTrack will prompt you to to choose the boot mode. Select "BackTrack Text - Default Boot Text Mode" and press...