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Wardriving is searching for Wi-Fi wireless networks by moving vehicle. It
involves using a car or truck and a Wi-Fi-equipped computer, such as a laptop or a
PDA, to detect the networks. It was also known as 'WiLDing' (Wireless Lan
Driving).Many wardrivers use GPS devices to measure the location of the
network find and log it on a website. For better range, antennas are built or bought,
and vary from omnidirectional to highly directional. Software for wardriving is
freely available on the Internet, notably, NetStumbler for Windows, Kismet for
Linux, and KisMac for Macintosh.
Wardriving was named after wardialing because it also involves searching for
computer systems with software that would use a phone modem to dial numbers
sequentially and see which ones were connected to a fax machine or computer, or
WarDriving is an activity that is misunderstood by many people.This applies to both the
general public, and to the news media that has reported on WarDriving. Because the name "WarDriving'* has an ominous sound to it, many people associate WarDriving with a
WarDriving originated from wardialing, a technique popularized by a character played
by Matthew Broderick in the film WarGames, and named after that film. Wardialing in this context refers to the practice of using a computer to dial many phone numbers in the hopes of
finding an active modem.
A WarDriver drives around an area,often after mapping a route out first, to determine all of
the wireless access points in that area. Once these access points are discovered, a WarDriver uses a software program or Web site to map the results of his efforts. Based on these results, a
statistical analysis is performed. This statistical analysis can be of one drive, one area, or a
general overview of all wireless networks. The concept of driving around discovering
wireless networks probably began the day after the first wireless access point was deployed.
However,WarDriving became more well-known when the process was automated by Peter
Shipley, a computer security consultant in Berkeley, California. During the fall of
2000,Shipley conducted an 18-month survey of wireless networks in Berkeley, California and
reported his results at the annual DefCon hacker conference in July of 2001.This
presentation, designed to raise awareness of the insecurity of wireless networks that were
deployed at that time, laid the groundwork for the "true" WarDriver.
The truth about WarDriving :
The reality of WarDriving is simple. Computer security professionals, hobbyists, and others
are generally interested in providing information to the public about security vulnerabilities
that are present with "out of the box" configurations of wireless access points. Wireless
access points that can be purchased at a local electronics or computer store are not geared
toward security. They are designed so that a person with little or no understanding of
networking can purchase a wireless access point, and with little or no outside help, set it up
and begin using it.
Computers have become a staple of everyday life. Technology that makes using computers
easier and more fun needs to be available to everyone. Companies such as Linksys and DLink
have been very successful at making these new technologies easy for end users to set upand begin using. To do otherwise would alienate a large part of their target market.
According to the FBI, it is not illegal to scan access points, but once a theft of service,denial
of service, or theft of information occurs, then it becomes a federal violation. While this is
good, general information, any questions about the legality of a specific act in the United
States should be posed directly to either the local FBI field office, a cyber crime attorney, or
the U.S. Attorney's office. This information only applies to the United States.
encouraged to investigate the local laws where they live to ensure that they aren't
inadvertently violating the law. Understanding the distinction between "scanning" or
identifying wireless access points and actully using the access point is understanding the
difference between WarDriving, a legal activity, and theft, an obviously illegal activity.
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