Wardriving Ms. Daisy

Well, it finally happened. I was able to experience my first wardriver in Schuylkill County. It seems that our office had it’s first wireless parking lot visitor. One of the employees here had noticed a man sitting in his car, using a laptop. He also happened to have what appeared to be his family in the car with him.

When asked what he was doing, he explained that he was using a wireless network. He even showed the employee that there were two networks listed. Ours happened to be secured, but another one in the area was not.

I followed up with researching the wireless networks in the area, and quickly discovered that the business next door was the source of the wireless connection. For some reason, the local computer service provider had set up a wireless access point which not only was not encrypted, the default username and password were not changed. I was able to show that employee how to access the settings to disable the wireless access AND disable the broadcasting of the SSID (which is the public ID you see when you try to log on wirelessly). I answered a few technical questions about what the person might have been able to access, then left.

A little bit of on-line research led me to find a website that is to document mapping a wardriver’s findings. If you visit www.wigle.net, you can look up places on a map to see if an SSID has been documented wherever you look. I did a little searching and found many places all along the street where we are located. I am guessing that many of these wireless networks are not protected, if seeing the default SSID is being broadcast. That is just way too scary.

This is almost as scary as Fran Drescher’s career or Celine Dion’s singing voice.

Really.

-sj

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