So, most all of us know the case about Google Street View cars recording a lot of data that was there for the taking floating around all of our neighborhoods, as they drove up and down all the streets to get their mapped photos. As far as we might understand, they got into quite a bit of trouble due to gathering a good deal of random personal data, such as emails and things. Other than that, Wifi Access Point SSIDs and MAC address BSSIDs, which were purposefully recorded during their drives, were apparently not a legal issue. Google also relays that they are not the only organization to do so:
WiFi network information: which we use to improve location-based services like search and maps. Organizations like the German Fraunhofer Institute and Skyhook already collect this information globally.
Seeing as it is within the confines of being legal to do this, I thought I should see if there was a way that I myself might do the same. Wikipedia tells us that Wardriving is:
…the act of searching for Wi-Fi wieless networks by a person in a moving vehicle, using a portable computer, smartphone or personal digital assistant (PDA).
Software for wardriving is freely available on the Internet, notably NetStumbler, InSSIDer or Ekahau Heat Mapper for Windows; Kismet or SWScanner for Linux, FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, DragonFly BSD, and Solaris; and KisMac for Macintosh. There are also homebrew wardriving applications for handheld game consoles that support Wi-fi, such as sniff_jazzbox/wardive for the Nintendo DS/Android, Road Dog for the Sony PSP, WiFi-Where for the iPhone, G-MoN, Wardrive, and Wigle Wifi for Android, and WlanPollution for Symbian NokiaS60 devices. There also exists a mode within Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops for the Sony PSP (wherein the player is able to find new comrades by searching for wireless access points) which can be used to wardrive. Treasure World for the DS is a commercial game in which gameplay wholly revolves around wardriving.
This is a throwback to the days of War Dialing, which was when people with a modem would sequentially dial blocks of phone numbers in order to find those with computers at the other end. Now, devices that are equipped with both Wifi Adapter and GPS make WarDriving a simple task.
Wireless Geographic Logging Engine (WiGLE) is a website devoted to picking up such information and uploading it to a central map online. Now there is an app in the google play store called Wigle Wifi WarDriving, which makes WarDriving incredibly easy.
- Download and install Wigle Wifi Wardriving from the Google Play Store
- Enable wifi and GPS on your android device
- Jump in your Car and let’s Go!
The main List screen in WiGLE will show a great deal of information
- How many Wifi Runs have been made
- How many New Wifi APs were picked up
- How many Total APs are in the database
- Latitude and Longitude
- Current Speed in mph
- Lower portion shows current area APs – MAC – Encryption
- Here we have the Map Screen, which shows the APs popping up as you drive!
This is not exactly useful, but a little more fun to watch than the list screen!
- I’m skipping the Dashboard screen, as I think the information in there is just kind of a rehash of the List screen. But, here is the Data Screen:
This is a great screen, because you can locally do searches of your current database, whether it is by location, SSID, or BSSID (MAC). You can also export your current run or your entire database to either CSV or KML file:
You may also use this screen to Backup your whole database for archiving.
- Here is an exported CSV file brought up in Libre Office:
This makes it super easy to search for WEP! Woo hoo!
- Now the fun exciting awesome rad part! If you install Google Earth, you can just double-click on that KML file, and whammo! it zooms right in and displays exactly where all your Wifi APs are at!
There it is, my whole drive mapped out, every single Wifi in between my departure and destination.
- On the left panel of Google Earth, you can scroll through every wifi Hotspot, and you can even save them in here for later perusal, and add more runs to them later:
All information is available in this information pane. You can even ask Google Earth for directions to the particular Wifi Router you are interested in… Wow!
And, if that is not enough for you, you can drag the little yellow guy onto the map for street view, and look around, doing recon to figure out what building the AP may be originating from! Jaw Drop…
Does anybody else here have the idea that maybe you could run around your town for a while and then come home, analyze this data, and figure out where all the WEP is at? Hmmmm…. Interesting.
Huge Thanks go to Hegelund from Reddit for turning me on to this tool and inspiring me to write this article. You can check his site out at: https://ifconfig.dk