NetworkManger not Manager

Several new NetworkManager features of note. One is that we now automatically build the allowed BSSID list in response to roaming. Consequently, walking around a corporate campus now seamlessly populates the trusted list with all of the wireless network's access points.

This begs the discussion on a little known feature: NetworkManager trusts networks via an (ESSID,MAC) pair and not solely the ESSID. As far as I know, this functionality is unique to NM. Indeed, recently, Windows has had a series of exploits involving Ad-Hoc networks and man-in-the-middle attacks. NetworkManager would never fall for such chicanery.

A second cunning feature is that, since NetworkManager stores a list of MAC addresses for each known wireless network, NM is able to do a reverse MAC to ESSID mapping for non-broadcast (hidden) networks, showing hidden trusted networks in the scan list.

A follow-up feature is to disable roaming for certain wireless networks, locking the BSSID to a specific value. Dan, astutely, suggested doing so for the "blacklisted" default networks, such as linksys and NETGEAR.

NetworkManager, the applet

A second feature, visible above, is that we now differentiate Ad-Hoc versus infrastructure networks in the scan list. This is important, again to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks where an Ad-Hoc network masquerades as your usual corporate AP. NetworkManager, trusting only the known MAC, will never automatically connect—now, the user is informed and will not force a likewise unwise connection.

Connecting to Ad-Hoc networks is rare and should always be a conscientious choice. Toward that end, Dan has suggested another smart follow-up: Given a request to force a connection to a wireless network, if multiple access points are in range, we should prefer infrastructure over Ad-Hoc networks.

Last week, Joey became a home owner, eschewing the high Cantabrigian rent for a higher Cantabrigian mortgage. Since the transformation, he has not shut up about how I am "burning money on rent" and "need to start building equity" in my life. Now, all he talks about is Tupperware and mowing his new lawn and social security. And, naturally, he became a Republican.

In other news, Amr Hamzawy, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, writes of Al-Qaeda facing an ideological crisis: There appears to be an emerging public consensus that democracy is the only viable way ahead.

G. F. Will on Who Isn't A 'Values Voter'? in today's Washington Post.

Also in a Tuesday Op-Ed, A Nuclear Test for Diplomacy, Henry Kissinger offers the wise realist perspective on Iran, noting: Focusing on regime change as the road to denuclearization confuses the issue. The United States should oppose nuclear weapons in North Korea and Iran regardless of the government that builds them.