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November 15, 2008 / TildeWill


So ever since I moved into my apartment here in SF I haven’t been able to geton the wireless network with my desktop PC. I always assumed it was my old ass computer that had seen betterdays – maybe the USB ports were fried, or maybe I pried open my WiFi dongle onetoo many times thiking about making something elsethat was WiFi enabled.

Well yesterday I bought a new USB PCI card, popped it in, attached my WiFi dongle and got connected for like 20 seconds, noticed there was not outbound traffic, then got kicked off.  This happened a couple of times. I figured Imusthave a flakey WiFi dongle, but the storewas long closed, soI had to go this morning.

I returned the USB card, and got a WiFi PCI card instead. Got it home, plugged it in, still couldn’t connect. So finally I reset the wireless router. It didn’t actually reset it, so I plugged in a cable and logged into the router. After putting a password other than the default one on the router, I noticedthat my passphrase (the old room mates phone number) was sitting there in clear text. “!?!?!”, I screamed! Apparently instead of having the phone number as a passphrease and then hashing it, he just used lame 64-bit encryption (instead of 128-bit) and just used the phone number as a hash.

So my hardware has been working fine all this time. Just that someone used the technology differently than it was intended to be used. Gah!!!!

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