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I'm searching for a equivalent of "iwconfig eth0 mode Monitor" in Mac OS.

From man iwconfig mode Monitor does the following:

"the node is not associated with any cell and passively monitor all packets on the frequency"

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2 Answers

What you're looking for is /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport. It's a binary command, which I've symlinked into /usr/local/bin/ for convenience.

Example of sniffing in monitor mode:

sudo airport en1 sniff 1

This sniffs on channel 1 and saves a pcap capture file to /tmp/airportSniffXXXXXX.pcap (where XXXXXX will vary). You can view this with tcpdump -r <filename> or by opening it in wireshark.

To search for active channels nearby that you can sniff, run this:

sudo airport en1 -s

Although you can capture any traffic, you can only effectively read if the network is open or you have the encryption key.

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by default on OSX en0 is your ethernet port, while en1 is your airport


iwconfig en1 mode monitor
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There's no such command on Mac OS X. –  bahamat Sep 27 '12 at 19:31
strange, I just ran it... and it worked... and thanks for changing the interface names, forgot about that –  h3rrmiller Sep 27 '12 at 19:36
You must have obtained it from somewhere else, it's not part of Mac OS X. –  bahamat Sep 27 '12 at 19:54
yeah, pretty sure you're right –  h3rrmiller Sep 27 '12 at 23:49
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