The Flying Squirrel Wireless Discovery/Mapping Application is a Government-off-the-Shelf (GOTS) software application developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to provide real-time discovery, analysis, and mapping of IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n wireless networks.
With the advantages that wireless technologies provide, many organizations are seeking the means to securely integrate wireless capabilities into their networks. In an effort to standardize wireless security for the purpose of detecting and thus deterring unauthorized wireless activity, the Department of Defense (DoD) Enterprise-Wide Information Assurance and Computer Network Defense Enterprise-wide Solutions Steering Group (ESSG) identified the need to enhance network security through the employment of a Wireless Discovery Device (WDD) capability.
To enhance the security posture of DoD networks, Flying Squirrel provides a real-time wireless discovery, integrated visualization and mapping, and post-hoc analysis capabilities. These capabilities are provided in Flying Squirrel (interchangeably referred to as Flying Squirrel Wireless Assessment Tool Suite) via the Flying Squirrel, Caribou, Woodchuck, and MeerCAT-FS components.
Flying Squirrel (FS), a strictly standalone application designed to run on a standard laptop, can detect and segregate wireless transmitters that are acting as a WLAN client or Access Point (AP). It is designed to operate on both Windows XP/Vista/7 and Linux operating system (OS) platforms. Unlike many wireless discovery tools, FS is at no time connected to the organization’s network in order to operate. Instead, it employs passive detection to identify wireless stations or AP’s operating within a geographic area on a real-time basis. FS also provides a real-time integrated visualization and mapping capability called Woodchuck. Woodchuck allows users to generate a “Radiation Field (RF) Map” based on the signal strength information for any selected transmitter. This RF-map allows users to conduct basic geo-location by visual inspection.
To compare and analyze multiple FS data capture sessions, MeerCAT-FS, an analytic visualization tool, can be launched as a plug-in from within FS or from its desktop icon, to perform further post-hoc analysis. By utilizing its key features, such as time trend analysis, wireless topology, profile filters, and communication patterns, the operator can turn Flying Squirrel’s wealth of data into meaningful, actionable information.
To aid in performing wireless discovery and mapping of wireless transmitters indoors, Caribou, an inertial measurement sensor, provides FS position information in the absence of a global positioning system (GPS) signal. This ruggedized (3”x1.25”x2.5”) device integrates seamlessly with FS requiring the operator to simply clip the unit to their belt, plug in the USB cable, and pick a starting location. The sensor data is transferred to FS via the USB.
- Easy-to-use graphical interface with both Windows and Linux
- Supports 802.11a/b/g/n
- Real-time protocol analysis
- Cloaked network discovery
- Arbitrarily filter, search, and sort networks
- Statistical analysis of captured network traffic
- Customizable report generation
- Real-time signal strength interpolation
- Real-time drive path & logical network visualization
- Integrated Geographic Information System (GIS)
- KML (i.e. Google Earth) export
- Filter networks by geographic area
- Blueprint overlay
- Built-in reporting
- Time trend analysis
- Wireless topology
- Mission correlation
- Communication patterns
- Compares many war drives across locations and time
- Big picture overview; drill-down for detail
- Visual tracks of threat locations: geographic and in-building
- Profile filters highlight suspicious behavior
- Inertial, magnetic, and barometric sensors for indoor tracking
- Built-in GPS for outdoor tracking
- Ruggedized enclosure - 3 x 1.25 x 2.5
- Tilt compensated compass
- USB powered, no need for batteries
- Easily mounts to an operator's belt
- Sensor data is transferred to Flying Squirrel via USB
- Blueprint overlay into Flying Squirrel
Flying Squirrel News
All documentation requires a CAC to access.
- Flying Squirrel Overview Documentation (pdf)
- DISA Communications Roadmap to Support the Department of Defense (pdf)
- Flying Squirrel CONOPS v1.6 (pdf)
- Flying Squirrel Authority to Operate (ATO) (pdf)
- Flying Squirrel Authority to Operate (ATO) - Amendment 1 (pdf)
- Flying Squirrel Change Control Board Charter (pdf)
- Flying Squirrel Configuration Change Request (CCR) Form (pdf)
- Woodchuck - NASA World Wind
- MeerCat-FS User's Manual (pdf)
- MeerCat-FS Post-Hoc Analysis Training (pdf)
- Flying Squirrel DCO Session (wmv)
- Caribou Setup Instructions (pdf)
What is Flying Squirrel?
Flying Squirrel is the Department of Defense standard wireless discovery and mapping application. It runs on Windows and Linux using commercial laptops, wireless cards, and GPS devices.
What do I need to run Flying Squirrel?
Required hardware is detailed in the System Requirements tab.
How can I obtain Flying Squirrel?
Flying Squirrel may be downloaded here. Access to download the Flying Squirrel application is limited to personnel with a government Common Access Card (CAC).
How do I create a bootable USB?
Please refer to the Download tab for instructions.
Where is my scan data being saved?
- By default, data is saved in the /root directory on a drive which exists only in RAM. If the computer loses power, is turned off or rebooted, this data will be lost. To prevent this, Flying Squirrel may be configured to save directly to a USB storage device. Refer to the online help for Flying Squirrel for instructions on how to persist data to a USB storage device (Flying Squirrel Help -> Configuring Flying Squirrel -> Configuring File Storage Locations).
- By default, data is saved to your hard drive under the %userprofile%\FlyingSquirrelData directory. No special actions are necessary to ensure that scan data persists between sessions.
I'm booting off of a bootable CD drive, how do I save my data?
In general, we recommend data is saved to a USB storage device. If the USB drive is connected while the CD boots up it will be automatically recognized and prepared. If you plug the USB drive in after the computer has booted up, a dialog box will prompt you about what to do with the new recognized device, select Open in a New Window. The disk will appear as a directory such as /mnt/sda1_removable. Refer to the online help for Flying Squirrel for instructions on how to persist data to a USB storage device (Flying Squirrel Help -> Configuring Flying Squirrel -> Configuring File Storage Locations).
I'm booting off of a bootable USB drive, how do I save my data?
When Flying Squirrel creates a bootable USB drive, the drive is divided into two partitions: an operating system partition (/mnt/sda2_removable) and a data partition (/mnt/sda1_removable). Flying Squirrel should be configured to save data to /mnt/sda1_removable. Refer to the online help for Flying Squirrel for instructions on how to persist data to a USB storage device (Flying Squirrel Help -> Configuring Flying Squirrel -> Configuring File Storage Locations).
Can I read my data in Windows?
The data partition of the USB device should be recognized in both Windows and Linux. Flying Squirrel creates a CSV file which can be imported into a spreadsheet for more readable results (Note: the field delimiter is a semicolon rather than a comma).
Which wireless card should I use?
Please visit the System Requirements tab for a complete list of supported wireless cards.
How can I tell which driver I'm using?
- Atheros-based cards will be similar to ath0
- Prism II-based cards will be similar to wlan0
- Intel Centrino-based cards will be similar to eth0
- Airpcap cards will be similar to airpcap0
Are there any known issues with wireless cards?
- Atheros-based cards have problems after they are disabled. If you have problems with the channel scanning getting "stuck" on one channel with an Atheros card, disable it then eject it and reinsert it.
- Intel Centrino-based wireless cards cannot lock on a specific channel and hop randomly.
- Windows: there are no known issues
What kind of GPS device should I use?
Please visit the System Requirements tab for a complete list of supported GPS devices.
Are there any known issues with any GPS devices?
- Garmin nüvi®-based GPS devices are not supported under Windows or Linux.
- Garmin USB-based GPS devices are not supported under Linux.
How do I enable my GPS?
Flying Squirrel will configure your GPS automatically. You can check your GPS status in the lower-right corner of the status bar. If it says 2D Fix, 3D Fix, or No Signal, then Flying Squirrel has detected your GPS.
What do I do if my laptop doesn't boot correctly?
- Video card manufacturer and model
- Laptop manufacturer and model
- Wireless card manufacturer and model
- GPS manufacturer and model
Why is my GPS status GPS Not Present even though my GPS is plugged in?
- Flying Squirrel supports only Garmin serial-based GPS devices and NEMA-compliant USB and serial-based GPS under Linux. If Flying Squirrel does not recognize your GPS, please contact the help desk and provide them with the manufacturer and model of your GPS device.
- Run the Garmin Web Updater (link to Garmin Web Updater) to ensure that your GPS is using the latest firmware.
- If you are using a USB-based Garmin GPS, ensure that you have downloaded and installed the appropriate drivers (Link to Garmin USB GPS drivers) from Garmin.
- US Globalsat GPS devices: ensure that you have downloaded the appropriate drivers for your GPS device. Download them here.
- USB-based GPS devices: ensure that you have downloaded and installed the appropriate drivers for your GPS device.
- Garmin-based device
What should I do if I'm having display problems with Woodchuck?
- Please contact the Help Desk.
- Most display problems in Woodchuck can be addressed by installing the latest video drivers for your laptop. You can usually obtain video drivers for your laptop from the website for your video card manufacturer. Occasionally, your video card manufacturer will refer you to the website for your laptop manufacturer. In that case, you should download the latest video drivers from their website instead.
What should I do if I'm having trouble obtaining imagery for my area of interest?
When you are downloading imagery using the Import Imagery Wizard, ensure that you have selected all available layers (i.e. USGS Urban Area Ortho and Digital Globe CitySphere WMS (FOUO)) to download. Additionally, ensure that you have enabled all available imagery layers in the layers panel in Woodchuck. For further instructions on how to enable these layers, refer to the Woodchuck online help section Using Woodchuck -> Layers.
I’m experiencing problems accessing the FS software using my CAC card. What can I do?
Double-check your expiration date on your CAC card to ensure it is still valid. Download the latest DOD PKI Root Certs, install them, and reboot your computer. (NOTE: http://militarycac.com/dodcerts.htm is one source where you can find the latest DOD PKI Root Certs). If you still are experiencing problems, contact the Helpdesk.
Why is my AirPcap card not recognized in Windows in 64-bit version of Flying Squirrel 1.4?
A bug in the AirPcap driver installer prevents Flying Squirrel from accessing the AirPcap card. To correct the problem, simply run Flying Squirrel once as user with administrator privileges. Afterwards, Flying Squirrel should be able to use the AirPcap card without elevated privileges.
Why won’t Flying Squirrel 1.4 install on Windows XP?
Flying Squirrel 1.4 requires Windows Installer 4.5 or later for Windows XP. This can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=8483.
Is cloaked as same as "hidden SSID"?
Cloaked does mean the same as hidden SSID.
Does Flying Squirrel identify MAC addresses?
Will Flying Squirrel be able to see 802.11n networks?
Flying Squirrel is able to detect 802.11/b/g/n but it depends on the wireless network card used for detection.
Is 802.11n different than a/b/g since it is the same channels and frequencies with no additional security over a/b/g?
There is no additional security with 802.11n. It uses the same channels and frequencies as a/b/g.
What are the requirements and process for acquiring Flying Squirrel?
Do users need special permissions to access and download from the Flying Squirrel website?
No. Flying Squirrel for Linux, FS for Windows, and related documentation can be downloaded from http://www.nrl.navy.mil/flying_squirrel with a valid DOD CAC.
Is Orb-Weaver only for LAN discovery or can it be used across the WAN?
Orb-Weaver runs on a dedicated Flying Squirrel network. Depending how the network is configured, it can be used for LAN or WAN discovery.
Does one need to be on a .mil network to download Flying Squirrel?
What type of GPS devices does Flying Squirrel work with?
The recommend GPS device is the US Globalsat BU-353. All recommended hardware for Flying Squirrel can be is listed on the Flying Squirrel website http://www.nrl.navy.mil/flying_squirrel under the “Hardware Requirement” tab.
Are all options demonstrated during the wireless DCO session on 26 January 2012 currently available on the website?
FS 1.4 was demonstrated during the wireless DCO session and all capabilities demonstrated are available.
Does Flying Squirrel help with compliance of the wireless STIG to monitor for rogue devices?
Flying Squirrel helps with the compliance of the wireless STIG. Within Flying Squirrel, there is a tool to run the wireless STIG questions and generate a compliance report. It also satisfies the DISA scanning requirement.
Will there be a "server" type setup that will have multiple Flying Squirrel installs report to a centralized setup?
Orb-Weaver will provide this functionality later this year.
Will Flying Squirrel work with a Garmin Montana?
Are there any plans for iOS or Android devices?
Currently we are researching to use Flying Squirrel on an Android device. However, iOS will never be supported.
How much is a Caribou Unit and what is the process of obtaining one? Is there a commercial source?
The Caribou Unit is GFE. Send an email to email@example.com and request the cost and MIPR information.
What is the recommended wireless card?
Who are the points of contacts for Flying Squirrel?
What should I do if my question is not answered in this FAQ?
If you are having technical problems that are not covered in this FAQ please contact the ITAC Help Desk. See the Helpdesk tab.