The Network application is used to open and close the ability to connect to your GCW handheld via various protocols such as FTP, SSH and Telnet.
The Network application is somewhat misnamed; this is NOT the application you use to connect your GCW to your home network, this is the application you use to connect TO your GCW.
Use this application to open a connection to your GCW so you can upload files / manage software, etc.
- Install Software
- FTP/SFTP Access
- Telnet/SSH Access
- Manipulate/Manage the O/S
- Firmware Upgrade
Network is accessed from the "settings" menu in the GCW-Zero main interface, by default it is the upper left icon (green background with a picture of a small handheld connecting to a computer by a wire). While the Network icon is highlighted, press the "A" button on the GCW-Zero to open the application.
- DPad Up/Down: Used to move within the Network App's Menu
- A Button: Activate the Highlighted Menu Option
- Start Button: Activate the Highlighted Menu Option
- Select Button: Exit the Application
The Network Application opens to a big "Configure Network" title screen, which is, again, misleading. You are not configuring anything about your network or network connections in this application.
Below the "Configure Network" title is "IP addrs:" which is one of the more important bits of information on the screen. The "IP addrs:" line shows you what IP Addresses your GCW-Zero will respond on on your network. (More Below)
The "Log in with user name: root" line will not change. You cannot change the login user, it's always going to be "root". This is simply a reminder what the username for any connection to your handheld is.
Below this is "Current Setting". This is the password protection setting of your GCW. It will display one of 3 messages:
- login with password - This means that the "root" account has been assigned a random 6 character alpha-numeric password. the Password will appear on the next line next to "Password:". If you forget this password it's not a big deal...clicking "disable login" (below) and then re-clicking Set random password will change the password to a new random password and print it to the screen.
- login without password - This means that the "root" account on your handheld has had it's password removed...the handheld can be accessed by anyone on your network by simply typing in the IP address of your handheld, typing "root" as the user, and leaving the password field blank. VERY INSECURE. DO NOT KEEP THIS SETTING WHEN JOINING PUBLIC NETWORKS such as those in coffee houses or airports. (See "A Word About Security" below).
- login disabled - This means the "root" account cannot be logged into. This is the setting your GCW-Zero should be on when you do not need login access to your handheld (most of the time). This will NOT affect connecting to others on things like network games so it is safe to leave this set the majority of the time. (See "A Word About Security" below).
Below the "Current Setting" display are 3 menu options which correspond with the three login messages above:
- Set random password - Corresponds with the "login with password" message and causes a new random password to be generated and login access to the handheld to be opened.
- Allow login without password - Corresponds with the "login without password" message above and causes the password on the root account to be blanked out and login access to the handheld to be turned on.
- Disable login - Corresponds with the "login disabled" message above and causes logins to the handheld to be turned off.
Finally there is an "Exit" menu option which closes the "Network" application.
All About Passwords
Q: HELP! I've lost my password, how do I get it back? Q: How do I retrieve my previous password for the root account? Q: I went into the Network application and clicked "Set random password", I then exited the Network screen and came back and the password is no longer there. How do I find it again? Q: I don't know what the last random password I set to get into my GCW-Zero, how do I get it back?
A: You don't need it! Every time you click the "Set random password" menu option the old password is wiped out and a new password is set and printed to the screen. if that still doesn't work you can select "Allow login without password" or "Disable login" to force the password to be removed and then "Set random password" to regenerate a new password for the root account. Each time you re-generate a password, it will be printed to the "Network" applications screen until that screen is closed.
Q: I closed the Network application and came back in, is my password still set? Q: Can I store my connection to my GCW-Zero in my FTP Application?
A: Yes. The random password that was initially set remains set till you regenerate it (re-selecting any of the three menu options will cause the password to be removed and require that it be regenerated however). Exiting the Network application and re-entering it may not print the old password to the screen anymore, but it's still set.
A Note about Security
Most of us don't think about a device like the GCW as a security risk, and for the most part, it's not. The WiFi connection on the device is not automatically re-enabled at each boot, it doesn't automatically re-connect to known wifi networks like our smartphones and computers do...that makes the GCW mostly secure out of the box.
That said, it's ALWAYS a good idea to understand the vulnerability of using a wifi enabled device. While the hardline connection (plugging the device into a USB port and then into the Mini-USB port on the bottom of the GCW-Zero) is almost assuredly secure (I don't believe anyone can get to the system outside of sitting at the computer it's plugged into), the wireless connection on the device is as vulnerable to being "attacked" as any other wireless device. If the wireless connection is turned on on the handheld, and it is connected to a wireless local network, the GCW-Zero is vulnerable to being broken into...as with any wirelessly connected device.
NEVER join a public network (a network outside of the home) with the "Allow login without password" option set. This is just asking to have the device broken into, personal files stolen or the OS corrupted. Keep in mind the device is a full fledged Linux system with a not insignificant processor and memory configuration, using the GCW-Zero as a jumping off point to get into other systems on a local network with more important/better information is not such a far fetched idea. Pushing a virus or Trojan horse onto the GCW which then downloads itself from the handheld to the desktop it's attached to the next time it's connected to the local network is not rocket science...it's been done since the days of floppy disks.
In most cases, the default setting of the GCW should be "Disable login". It takes only a few seconds to switch that to one of the two "login allowed" settings and/or generate a new password. Get in the habit of setting "Disable login" on the device before turning it off. This will help ensure the GCW doesn't get hacked and personal files, saved games, etc. never get corrupted, stolen or deleted, and it can't be used as a springboard to the rest of the network.
Of course the most secure way to keep the GCW safe is to ensure it's off if it's not being used. When being used, try to make sure it stays in "Disable login" mode. For 95% of the activities on the handheld this will affect nothing. For the few times when the GCW Does need to be accessed remotely, try to access it via hardwire (USB Port) from a secured machine, use the "Set random password" option to force password protected login. Only ever use the "Login without password" option from within a secure network, like a home network...and only then for short periods of time for specific purposes.
In the case where a connection to a wireless network needs to be made (like in the case of wireless gaming with other GCW Users), absolutely try to use "Disable login" mode, here again this should work in the vast majority of cases. Where it cannot, make certain to use "Set random password". Never use "Login without password" mode when connected to a wireless network.
IP Addresses (IP addrs:)
The "IP addrs" line is important in that it tells you what network connections are active on the GCW and how to get to your handheld from another system. The IP addrs: line will likely always contain an IP Address something like 10.1.1.2. This is the default IP address of the USB Connection. If you plug the GCW into a USB Port on a computer, an FTP, Telnet or SSH application like Filezilla or Putty should then be able to use this 10.* IP Address to reach the handheld's O/S Login prompt.
If you have the wireless connection turned on, a second IP address matching the IP and Subnet of the local network it's connected to will also appear, assuming you are properly connected to the network and you've obtained a DHCP IP address from a server on the local wireless network. This is another way to reach the GCW-Zero through any computer connected to that local network.
The USB IP address listed on the handheld is always available, but only if the handheld is plugged directly in via USB and ONLY from the computer the handheld is plugged directly into. The "wlan0" connection is ONLY available if wireless is turned on and the handheld is properly connected to a wireless network. This IP Address (likely in the 192.168.* range) will make the handheld accessible to anyone connected to that local network.
To exit the "Network" application either select the "Exit" menu option and hit the "A" button or press the "Select" button.