Thursday, October 18, 2012

Will my card work with Aircrack-ng?

Even though there is plenty of documentation on the subject (and most of the time, existing posts about it in the forum), I still see a lot of these questions, especially for new cards.

It's pretty easy to find out and the easiest way is just to try it with a recent version of a pentesting live CD like Backtrack or Pentoo. If your card is detected, you're good to go. You can even use Ubuntu or whetever distro you're comfortable with.
An important thing to note is that what airmon-ng says about your chipset is pure information and doesn't affect your card ability to inject/monitor if the driver/card has that capability in the first place obviously.

A few important notes here related to VMware/VirtualBox:
  • If your card is internal, it's not gonna work, you must reboot and run the live CD
  • If your card is USB and you are running VMware/Virtualbox, then make sure it is attached to the virtual machine. It is explained in the wiki for VMware and it is pretty similar for VirtualBox.

If it doesn't work, the quickest way to find out if it will work is to compile compat-wireless, install it and reboot.
If your card doesn't show up then it might need a firmware. Download it and put it at the right location. Most of the time, a package containing it is available for your distribution; search for "firmware" with your package manager (synaptic/apt-cache/aptitude on Debian-based distro) and install it.
If you download it manually, check dmesg to make sure it doesn't show an error; the message is self-explanatory when it happens.

If your card still doesn't show up (assuming there is no unresolved symbols), then it's probably not gonna work.
In that case, you might want to practice your Google-fu to see if there is a driver in the works.