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WiFi Penetration Testing with Ubuntu on USB Storage

This article demonstrates how to use Ubuntu booted from a USB disk to do WIFI penetration testing. Why would you want to do this? If you have Windows on your laptop and need to use Aircrack-NG, you’ll need to fight with wireless adapter driver issues. So you’ll try Kali Linux on VirtualBox but find that VirtualBox doesn’t bridge the WIFI adapter as WIFI but rather as Ethernet. So you’ll finally conclude you either need a second laptop running Ubuntu or Kali, or boot off a USB storage device with Ubuntu in “live” mode. And that’s what we’ll do here.

The problem you’ll face is that once you reboot, you’re change will be lost. Ie, you’ll no longer have Aircrack-NG installed, your Ubuntu updates will be missing, and (importantly) your Aircrack-NG handshakes will be lost.

But that’s OK, we simply need two USB storage devices, one for Ubuntu and the other for the results. The steps to install Aircrack-NG are simple and listed here. So my advice is to have this page open while you run your penetration testing on Ubuntu.

Getting started:

  1. Download Ubuntu ISO from here “”. I go with the latest because I’m not worried about long-term support. I’m only going to be using it now and then and only for specific tasks like this.
  2. Have a 32GB USB thumb drive ready. We’ll use Rufus to write the ISO to the 32GB drive.
  3. Have a second ~32GB USB thumb drive ready. We’ll use it as storage for our Aircrack-NG scans.
  4. Write the ISO to USB using Rufus which you can download from here “”. If you’re not sure about this tool, consider that it’s what Ubuntu (Canonical) recommends here “”. You don’t need to install Rufus, just download and run it.
  5. Boot the laptop from the USB disk with Ubuntu on it. You’ll need to interrupt the boot process with DEL, F2, F10, f12 or whatever key does that on your device. Select the USB disk with Ubuntu on it, and boot.
  6. When booted into Ubuntu, insert the second USB disk for storage. This is where we’ll store the WPA handshakes we capture using Airodump-NG.

At this point ewe have a working Ubuntu machine. Following through on the steps above, any time in the future that you want to boot into Ubuntu, you simply need to repeat steps 5 and possibly 6. Easy and fast.

The following steps are to install and run Aircrack-NG on the newly booted Ubuntu.

From the Ubuntu terminal (Bash):

sudo add-apt-repository universe
sudo apt update
sudo apt install aircrack-ng hostapd net-tools vim

From this point forward, use the Aircrack instructions from “”. That article is written for Fedora but the Aircrack-NG specific instructions and examples are correct with Ubuntu too. It also gives ideas of which crack-lists to use.

Note that one of the first steps when using Aircrack-NG is to take down your WIFI adapter causing your Internet connection to be interrupted. This isn’t always the case and it may just work – but either way, keep this page and the one in step 3 above open so you can follow the instructions to run Aircrack-NG.

The final concern is having your Aircrack-NG handshake-capture file safe so you can run your cracking process. I suggest doing that outside of Ubuntu. You can use Ubuntu of course but consider you’re still in a temporary environment. The reason for the second USB disk mentioned towards the top of this article is to ensure you have a place to store your important files so you can use a stable/persistent environment to do the real work.


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