If you’re running Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, and you see a somewhat frightening and terse error message that says “Your wireless network has been compromised“, then you’ve probably entered into a world of annoyance. If you’re in the situation I was, this message begins to pop-up every few minutes. Every time it does, your network access is disabled for 60 seconds. if you’re in a Mac-centric office, and many of the developers run VMWare Fusion or Parallels Desktop, you probably noticed this issue begin to appear by now.
You might have tried the following:
- Disabled security on your WiFi network
- Regressed to WEP security
- Told everyone not to use the wireless
Clearly, none of these work-arounds is ideal. There is hope.
The problem is among OS X 10.5 – VMWare Fusion / Parallels Desktop – the TKIP WPA2 security protocol. For some reason, installing the VM programs creates a situation on the wireless network that causes a TKIP MIC (or a “Michael“) message integrity check error. In short: OSX and your router think that the network is being cracked, because of a way that the VM programs use or abuse the networking interface stack.
The solution is to regress the security, but by as little as possible. Simply turn of TKIP or “TKIP+AES” encryption on your wireless device, and only allow AES encryption. This is not ideal, because the Michael check is trying to warn you about network intrusion, however, it simply does not work.
Caveat: if you find that AES encryption does not work on some devices, you are probably use the stock Linksys firmware on your router. Consider upgrading to the DD-WRT firmware. Read the docs, go over notes for your router model, and take the plunge. The stable Linux-based environment for your router will make your network work, as well as offering you more features, such as local DNS, for example.