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Linksys WRT54G Ultimate Hacking 1st Edition

12 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1597491662
ISBN-10: 1597491667
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Paul Asadoorian (GCIA, GCIH) is the Lead IT Security Engineer for a large University in the New England area. In the past 6 years he has been responsible for intrusion detection, firewalls, VPN, and networking assessments/penetration testing in the educational IT space. He speaks frequently on topics such as wireless security at various events, such as MIT Security Camp. Paul’s research has been featured in numerous publications such as Network Intrusion Detection, 3rd edition,, and the SANS Reading Room. In addition to owning and operating an independent security consulting company, Defensive Intuition, Paul is also the host of PaulDotCom Security Weekly (, a weekly podcast discussing IT security news, vulnerabilities, hacking, and research, including interviews with some of the top security professionals. Paul graduated from Bryant College with a degree in Computing and Information Systems, and is currently on the SANS GIAC advisory board. When not trying to hack something Paul can be found spending time with his wife and pug, Rocco.

Larry Pesce (CCNA, GCFA Silver, GAWN Gold) is the Manager for Information Services Security at a mid-sized healthcare organization in New England. In the last 13 years in the computer industry, Larry has become a jack of all trades; PC repair, Network Engineering, Web Design, Non-Linear Audio and Video production and Computer Security. Larry is also gainfully employed as a Penetration Tester / Ethical Hacker with Defensive Intuition, a Rhode Island based security consulting company. A graduate of Roger Williams University in Computer Information Systems, Larry is currently exploring his options for graduate education. In addition to his industry experience, Larry is also a Security Evangelist and co-host for the PaulDotCom Security Weekly podcast at More of Larry’s writing, guides and rants can be found on his blog at and the SANS Reading Room.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Syngress; 1 edition (July 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1597491667
  • ISBN-13: 978-1597491662
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #891,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

54 of 59 people found the following review helpful By M. Baker on July 5, 2007
Format: Paperback
"For those who want to make the most out of their WRT54G you can learn how to port code and develop your own software for the OpenWRT operating system."

"Full coverage on embedded device development using the WRT54G and OpenWRT"

Unfortunately due to publication deadlines, much of the technical content of the book was dropped; it nolonger contains the chapters referenced in the above Amazon description, instead it focuses on giving brief reviews of the various firmwares available, along with hardware and software hacks. While it offers a good overview, the book falls short in technical depth and accuracy.

There are several places in the book where the information is either outdated or innacurate. Some examples -

OpenWrt should not be upgraded through the use of the "ipkg upgrade"; OpenWrt uses a filesystem overlay where the filesystem (squashfs) is readonly but appears writable by redirecting write access to another filesystem (jffs2). Attempting to upgrade will result in filesystem duplication; there are several warnings on the OpenWrt site regarding this.

The failsafe feaure is not new to OpenWrt's RC5 release; there has always been a failsafe proceeedure, but the instructions prior to the RC5 release were slightly different; failsafe was redesigned in RC5 to make it easier to access.

The example of blackholing advertisers through the use of dns using dnsmasq suggests rewriting the dnsmasq.conf; while the example does work, it creates a mess out of the configuration and involves many unnecessary steps. The same task could be acomplished much more easily by simply adding the hostnames to the /etc/hosts file.

The nvram-clean script does not actually reset the nvram configuration to defaults as described.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Northcutt on October 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
I think the most important contribution this book will make is to help people understand it is possible to change those innocuous Linksys boxes. After all, they are everywhere. I don't personally plan to try to hardware hack my Linksys router tonight after finishing reading the book, but it is on the list. Heavens knows, I have three or four sitting in the equipment closet from before we upgraded my home office to professional equipment. In the book we learn the parts of a Linksys router; to be truthful, I had never thought about that. There is a discussion about overcloking the router to make the processor run faster. Talk about a blast from the past, brings back the old 8086/8088 days. It was dangerous then and it still is today. There is a discussion about the OpenWrt team, without them, this would never be possible.

It was a real eyeopener to learn how much people have done with the WRT54G, there are a number of choices in firmware, even semi-commercial choices such as Talisman which allows you to establish VPNs, hotspots, mesh and even SIP VoIP. This book in extensively researched, we learn how to set up DHCP, SAMBA even X Windows! There are even several methods for increasing the radio output and or antenna modifications. U.S. readers are cautioned this can get you into trouble, I know I ended up sending my FM pirate radio system to a missionary group in Africa because it was just too tempting and in an urban area the FCC will eventually get you. The biggest surprise for me was the use of a WRT54G ( with an adapter ) as a bluetooth scanner.

My understanding is that the authors are going to offer a class, that sounds like a lot of fun.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Russell Butturini on July 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is full of fantastic information about modifying the WRT54G. I found it extremely useful and the projects have so far provided me with hours of hacking fun! However, the one beef I have with this book is it's written like Paul and Larry talk. Often times, they would tell you to do something one way, then contradict themselves later on in the chapter or go off on tangents, making the instruction somewhat hard to follow. Still, it's a great book for anyone interested in enhancing the capabilities of the WRT54G!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By B. Freeman on August 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for anyone interested in knowing all about the WRT54G series routers and how to hack them. The authors Paul and Larry from the popular "PaulDotCom Security Weekly" podcast did a great job explaining the inner workings of the router and also have some great tips on how to hack the firmware and hardware.

I would have given this book a 5 star rating but it unfortunately covers too much info about using the OpenWRT "White Russian" firmware instead of the new NVRAM replacement firmware called OpenWRT "Kamikaze". In their defense though I acknowledge that at the time of print the OpenWRT "Kamikaze" stable version was finally released. But anyone needing to know all about the previous OpenWRT "White Russian" or the other optional firmware upgrades will definitely not be disappointed!

I highly recommend buying this book anyway and also recommend their related website "[...]" for more valuable info about these awesome little routers!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brett Hoff on July 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
Wow I got my book in a week ago and read the entire thing in three nights. It was everything I was expecting! I am now on the hunt for some moderate priced WRT54G's.
Presently I have a WRT54G ver.3 running dd-wrt and after reading this book plan on moving to Openwrt. This really is a must have for anybody that enjoys pushing your equipment to the limit or just tinkering...Yes you can find a lot of this information on your own on the net, But Larry and Paul have done a great job bringing it all together and giving you a lot thought points along the way and made a nice point to make the code sections availble for download saving from time consuming typing mistakes.
My favorite sections are building a pen-testing WRT54g and the hardware hacking section.
All ready adding a 2gig sd card to mine and dual serial ports. And there website for the book [...] is steadily being updated with new and information constantly. Just recently added diseccting the WRT54g ver.8. Thanks guys and Great job. <Dmnhunter>
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