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Like the title says, do I need a special hardware other than my laptop's default wireless card to crack a wep key from auditing network ?

Additionally, what is the exact software needed and do I need a different operating system than Windows?

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If you are trying to crack a wirless network (i.e. a WEP key) using packet injection, you will need a network card that can actually inject packets. LifeHacker has a tutorial which shows you how to crack a WEP-encrpted network using a live ISO of BackTrack Linux, which is a security and penetration-based-distro. You could probably run AirSnort (or similiar equivalents) on Windows but I would, personally, prefer Linux or BackTrack.

I have used BackTrack sucessfully on (my own, controlled) WEP-encrypted network. Bear in mind it takes a lot of packets to be captured before you can even guess at the key.

Finally, even though you may know how to do something does not nessecarliy mean you should. Just something to bear in mind before you go wardriving or piggybacking.

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So without a network card that can inject packets there is nothing to be done? Which are some of these? –  Nikolai Sep 8 '11 at 14:06
    
I mean how do I know if mine does this? –  Nikolai Sep 8 '11 at 14:11
    
There is a section in the LifeHacker tutorial (shorlty after airmon-ng) that will ask you to run a series of commands and if you don't get the same info as the LH article then your wireless card doesn't support Packet Injection. Could you find out what the make/model of the card is and add it to your question? –  tombull89 Sep 8 '11 at 14:42
    
You can also crack WEP using only monitor mode, which requires no special hardware/drivers. However, this involves up to several days of listening (depending on network traffic) because you need ~30000 packets. –  WindowsEscapist Dec 7 '12 at 21:44

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