Wow, thanks for the responses. As a linux greenhorn I am very happy to find linux distributions that I can run from a cd or install with a script with the tools I want to learn already installed.
The Knoppix-STD also has nessus, ettercap and nmap along with the wireless tools. This just kicks a$$.
I downlowded the demo version of commview, installed it and used it for a spell. I like it. The Gui is easy to use and has most of the features that I would like to have. It is not as robust as Airopeek but then the price is considerably less.
I have a cisco 350 and 352 pcmcia cards. I got the 352 card for war driving since it has 2 mmc connectors for external antennas. I got the 350 since I have a cisco 1200 series access point. I might have to get an Orinoco Gold card since it seems work with more apps.
You can get Orinoco Gold cards with the external antenna connector on eBay for around $50US. There is also a nice 7 dBi omni-directional antenna for around $15US. It makes a nice companion to my Super Cantenna from www.cantenna.com. Just search for "wardriving" or "802.11" on eBay.com and everything will be made known to you.
I'm gonna eval CommView myself as soon as I buy a NetGear WAG511. The best price I've found so far is $72US, but there may be better deals out there.
I also need to find a good PCMCIA GPS card at a resonable price that will work with NetStumbler. Anyone have any recommendations?
With that mentioned, check out the conversations on the forums at www.netstumbler.com. Lotsa great wardriving/wireless talk there.
Whoops! The NetStumbler forums are at www.netstumber.org. They are two different boards with two seperate user registration procedures.
We usually use Linux, although Wnet/BSD-airtools make BSD (OpenBSD 3.2 recommended unless you are into porting) very valuable. Packages or not, it is always better to compile your favourite hacking tools from source, since at some point you'll surely come to modifying them. For example, we used to modify Wepwedgie for our pentesting needs. Check out our book website (http://www.wi-foo.com) for a complete collection of *nix wireless discovery/hacking tools as well as various Linux drivers and AP distros.
As to hardware, we like SMC High Power EliteConnect cards (Prism 2.5 chipset, 23 dBm output, 2 MMCX connectors, removable dipole antenna coming with the card). The high power output is very beneficial when it comes to testing various man-in-the-middle and DoS attacks.
I personally prefer Debain. All of the typical wireless tools seem to work on it. If you are squeemish about compiling the tools quite a few of them are available via apt-get. In addition to getting a rock solid operating system you will also learn more about the version of Linux you are working on. This can be very valuable knowledge.
If you are looking for ease of use you might want to try Mandrake or Fedora.
It is all just a matter of preference.
In addition to Knoppix, I'm running Slackware Linux 10.0 and it's good to me. I just downloaded the images of the last free distro of RedHat Linux (9.0), but I haven't managed to scrounged up a machine yet to try it on. The last version of RH I used was 6.2--and that was on a dual Pentium Pro machine many years ago. Ah, the memories...
According to http://distrowatch.com/stats.php, there are currently 315 active distributions of Linux. CD images of the popular distros can also be downloaded from http://linuxiso.org.
I just downloaded the images of the last free distro of RedHat Linux (9.0), but I haven't managed to scrounged up a machine yet to try it on.
I wouldn't bother running RH9. Especially if you have Slackware 10. There is really no point. I am a Debain guy, but I do run Slackware also. I was also happy to see that they have a similar apt interface for slack called slapt-get you can find it here: http://software.jaos.org/
I think you will be quite happy with Slackware.
Oh, I am already quite happy with Slackware. The only problem is that whenever I encounter Linux as a workstation/desktop OS in a professional or acedemic environment, it's always RedHat 7, 8, or 9. Even the Linux+ and LPI vendor neutral Linux certification are RedHat-ish. So I gotta have an RH system on my home network that can be used to emulate a customer's RH system.
No matter what icing they put on top, it's still just UNIX underneath. Thank goodness!
Even the Linux+ and LPI vendor neutral Linux certification are RedHat-ish.
I think it is funny when you have a "Vendor Neutral" exam, but if you aren't up on the biggest vendor then you are out. I agree to a certain point though, because it is hard to have something truely vendor neutral.