If you live in a large technically aware city like me, I am sure you have seen it. The wireless router has ports shared that you have never opened or you will occasionally find an ip on your network that certainly does not belong to you. Naturally you change your router name and password, make it invisible, reduce the signal, give it the really long key that you have to look up in your password database every time a friend comes over or you re-install Windows. Thinking your safe you forget about it until it happens again. Then you ask yourself, what were they doing? Was my ip used to hack a bank, or upload child porn, or do I now have a nasty trojan? Of course your router logs were almost intentionally made to be worthless for these answers, and it takes all of a double click to spoof the worthless mac address you did get from your router log. The bottom line is, unless you are a corporation, you cant justify investing man hours and thousands of dollars just to actively monitor these situations. Well now we certainly are closer to having an OS based solution simple enough for anyone to monitor this kind of activity, at least closer than companies like Asus or Linksys enhancing their functionality.
A certainly cool (while not extremely original) function was added to Windows 7, the Wireless Hosted Network. Now, buried in the heaps of libraries and binaries that Microsoft has stashed away for a rainy day they tend to dust one like this off and sneak it into a release. This new functionality enables the new rage app ‘Connectify’. Now I commonly only link to a website for reference or download, but you should visit their main site and watch some of the videos if you want a few minutes entertainment.
What is Connectify? Very simply its an application that allows Windows 7 (and 2008 Server R2) to use a wireless connection as a router. Previously this was not feasible due to the way that Windows handles its connection to the networking device. I only mention this app because it is a free ad-enabled software that extends these new functions and gives a convenient user interface.
What is Virtual Router? Virtual Router is a CodePlex open source software that in essence does the same thing as Connectify. However, you may be surprised to note how similar they are. Virtual Router is important to us because it is an open source c# application that we can modify and use as a learning tool in the new SoftAP marketplace for Windows.
STA – Station Adapter
PAN – Personal Area Network
AP – Access Point
SoftAP – Software Access Point
VSTA – Virtual Station Adapter
What is the Wireless Hosted Network