[conspire] (forw) Converting a Linksys WRT54G version (something) to OpenWrt

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Wed Aug 24 15:14:41 PDT 2011

For this Saturday.

----- Forwarded message from Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> -----

Date: Wed, 24 Aug 2011 15:14:09 -0700
From: Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com>
To: Kai Sandoval <indigo.kai at gmail.com>
Subject: Converting a Linksys WRT54G version (something) to OpenWrt
Organization: If you lived here, you'd be $HOME already.

Hello, Kai.  Please acknowledge this mail, so I know you're still
reading this GMail mailbox.  (I've sent you mail here before, and 
heard nothing back.)

A few days ago, while I was at the Reno World Science Fiction Convention
(WorldCon), I got a telephone call that I _think_ was from you, asking
for CABAL's help with (1) regaining security control over some variety
of Linksys WRT54G wireless router, and then (2) regaining security
control over computers at your place that are operating behind that
router and have become security compromised.

(If that wasn't you, my apologies for the intrusion.  It was noisy, and
I am not 100% sure I got the caller's name right.)

Over the telephone, I recommended wiping the WRT54G's flash memory
(its mass storage from which it boots) and overwriting it with the
current stable version of OpenWrt.  We said we'd be doing that together
at this Saturday's CABAL meeting.

Please:  Write back telling me the specific model of WRT54G (or
whatever model it is) and the serial number.  Actually, the S/N is most
important: As you will see on http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/linksys/wrt54g
, each unit's S/N has a prefix that tell you the exact model of WRT54G
(or related Linksys model) it is.

It's important that we determine which exact model this is, to ensure
that OpenWrt supports all its chips, and also that we use the build of
OpenWrt that's appropriate for your unit's CPU.  I _think_ all Linksys
wireless routers are based on a Broadcom 47xx CPU, but we should verify.
Some Linksys routers use integrated Broadcom wireless chips; others have
Atheros or Texas Instruments chips, and it's important to know which one
before picking out the firmware image to use.

See this table for what each Linksys model consists of:

I believe we'll be fine with installing the current stable release,
OpenWrt 10.03 'Backfire', using precompiled binary image files.
We'll be using one of the 10.3 openwrt-*-squashfs.bin files in this
directory:  http://downloads.openwrt.org/backfire/10.03/brcm47xx/

There's also a release candidate (RC5) for 10.03.1, but I see no reason
to resort to even well-tested betaware in this case.

http://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/howto/generic.flashing has generic
instructions about how to reflash wireless routers to run OpenWrt.
Likely, we'll be able to do it the easy way:  

  1. via original firmware

  Open the WebUI of the original firmware with your web browser and
  install the OpenWrt firmware image file using the "Firmware Upgrade"
  option of the original firmware. Done. 

Once that is installed, we will be able to get in via either SSH or 
the Web configuration interface, and set up your router, as describe
here:  http://wiki.openwrt.org/doc/howto/basic.config

The documentation for OpenWrt is a bit rough, and in general the best of
it is on their wiki.

----- End forwarded message -----

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