[K12OSN] OT: wardriving

ssh at tranquility.net ssh at tranquility.net
Thu Mar 8 15:33:30 UTC 2007

Good paper, Eric! So many are ignorant of it. My point on Netstumbler was 
that it is not a passive program, it transmits. That antenna has 24 db of 
gain (effective radiated power doubles every three 3db, so that's a lot of 
doubling) and that is not a healthy level with your head right next to it. 
By the same token, you shouldn't try to even connect to an AP like that, 
because that is still transmitting.

I spoke with the distributer (Fab-Corp) of that antenna, and they said a 
safe distance to be while it's transmitting is five feet. Five feet BEHIND 
it, there are side lobes that are larger.

Netstumbler works by sending probes en masse on every channel, and looking 
to see what responds. It's like walking down the street with a bullhorn 
yelling MARCO and then listening to see who replies POLO. Technically it 
is not connecting to the AP, but it is not by any means quiet about it. It 
is logged, but of course Joe Average doesn't know about that. It is really 
less intrusive than the default XP behaviour of connecting to whatever it 
can find.

Kismet is completely passive, no transmitting. It will also find those 
"SSID Hidden" ones. It's quiet and safe. Kismet also has options that I 
don't believe Netstumbler has to log a dump of the data received. In 
playing with this, I can drive by a college dorm, and capture snippets of 
email, web pages, MP3's and so forth that are going by in the traffic. 
After a few times of playing with it, I keep it defaulted to off on data 
dump. In USA it is legal to watch/look at anything non-encrypted on wi-fi. 
In some jurisdictions it can be considered an illegal wiretap to store it, 
so I don't.

I am an active wardriver, http://wigle.net has a DB of 9 million AP's. Of 
62,000 people signed up in the world, I currently rank #56. I don't pursue 
it that hard, I just keep doing it.  The Big Guys get more every month 
than I've gotten in five years. I am in no danger of making the top 10. I 
do it casually, once a month or so (or whenever I travel). The guys that 
are over the road or pizza delivery guys get the most.

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