Fingbox Part 1: first impressions

Fingbox Part 1: first impressions

On September 7th I received a long awaited little package containing my Fingbox, a project I had sponsored on Indiegogo. For people that never heard of Fing; it’s a company and a really cool app. The Fing app, for IOS and Android is one heck of a fantastic little security tool that allows users to do some rudimentary network scanning and probing. A must-have for basic troubleshooting which includes network discovery, an internet connectivity checker, port scanner, basic network tools like ping and traceroute, network monitoring, etc… oh, and it looks pretty.

Unfortunately with the introduction of IOS 11, the tool got a bit crippled with the new restrictions that Apple has included in the Operating System. It’s no longer possible to read out MAC addresses which is kind of a pain. Apple’s rationale behind the decision is difficult to understand and network security tools often rely on identifying devices based on MAC address mapping. There’s a petition to ask Apple to revert that decision on the change.org website.

But back to the Fingbox. It’s a cute, smurfish blue round gizmo you need to plug into your network (fixed, not wireless) and is the ideal companion for the Fing app. There’s not that much configuration needed; once booted, it can be found by the Fing app and added to the config of your network. It will get its IP address (IPv4) from your local DHCP server and that’s it.

artistic fingbox in black and white

So now what? What are the first impressions? Well, you’ll immediately notice some interesting additional functionality in the Fing app. On IOS 11, you’ll still notice the MAC address mapping which is used to identify the different devices on your network, but more interesting are the wifi & internet performance metrics. Especially the wifi performance is interesting as you will be able to measure the quality of your wireless network throughout your home. Measuring your internet speed and keeping its history gives you a good idea of the quality of your ISP. One of the more interesting features is its capability to interrogate the UPnP features of your internet access device. It taught me some interesting and unexpected things. Looks like my Samsung devices are way to social if you ask me.

Fingbox will alert you whenever a new device is spotted on your network, which is quite interesting; it helps in finding rogue devices or track (un)invited guests.

Without too much configuration, the Fingbox will tell you what’s on your network, how that network performs, what devices are doing and which are accessible from the Internet. But the Fingbox allows for some other nifty stuff which I’ll explore in more detail in Part 2.