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A Potentially Dangerous Program to Own
Knoppix software Review
by Douglas Chick

Knoppix is a German engineered Linux flavor that boots from CD and takes control of any computer that it boots up under. Recently while attending a technology show, Joe Ritchey and I stumbled onto a lone booth of computer geeks that were looking to recruit new members for the local Orlando Linux Users Group. Instantly we made a B-line to them, as they were the only ones behind a table that weren’t salespeople and introduced ourselves. There were two tables set up; one with 3 or 4 old computers and a mish mash of monitors with different open source operating systems on them, and another with a few printed out black and white brochures, a System Admin magazine and a stack of burned CD’s with a program named Knoppix on them. As I was talking to them about maybe putting up a free ad on the site because they are a non-profit org, Joe was listening to one of them explain what Knoppix is. Later as we were leaving, Joe was telling me how cool Knoppix sounded and couldn’t wait to try it. I said lets try it now, we both broke out our laptops and sat in the lobby of the convention center booting up with Knoppix.

Knoppix is a computer operating system (Linux) that is ran from a CD. The program detects all of your systems hardware and runs completely independent from the OS on the hard drive. What’s even more impressive was I could browse the hard drive that is an NTFS partition. My next thought was to plug my flash card in the USB port, it was automatically detected and I copied a file on it. (I was able to browse the contents of an NTFS partition and copy its content to a flash card. I realize that I said that twice, but it was such an important point I thought it only fitting to say it again.) I then turned and looked at Joe as I was fumbling for my wireless NIC card in my bag and I noticed Joe was doing the same. We plugged in, rebooted and went Wi-Fi baby. With my mind reeling with potential I stumbled upon the very program that I’ve been waiting to come out for Windows, AirSnort. AirSnort is a wireless sniffing program with an encryption-cracking program. Why would I be waiting for such a program for Windows—just read the rest of the article and quit asking intrusive questions?

As with many computer security minded people, the very next day while visiting a giant computer electronic superstore, I inserted the Knoppix CD and a wireless NIC card and rebooted the computer. Just as I suspected, not only did the store have an unencrypted wireless network that allowed me access to the Internet, but they were also a hotspot for a nationwide wireless carrier that I happened to know a vulnerability to.

Every network administrator should arm him or herself with, as may program utilities to help aid them in their battle with good and evil, or golivel if you go both ways. Knoppix is just one more disk in my bag.

The Network Administrator.com gives Knoppix 4 beanie propellers




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