http://rtnews.globetechnology.com/servlet/ArticleNews/tech/RTGAM/20020821/gtwar/Technology/techBN/ By JACK KAPICA Globe and Mail Update August 21, 2002 Information technology managers may want to pay close attention to Red Deer, Alberta, on Aug. 31, which has been targeted by hackers for a "wardriving" day. In what is being billed as the first Alberta International Wardriving Day, hackers armed with laptop computers outfitted with wireless networking gear and global positioning systems will drive around Red Deer looking for unprotected wireless computer networks. The aim of the game - organizers are calling it a "hobby" - is to see which hacker can find the most wireless networks in one day. Also called "net stumbling," the game grew out of an earlier activity called "war dialing," popularized by the 1983 movie War Games. That involved dialing software, which was used to dial many phone numbers automatically, looking for lines that are answered by modems. The "wardriving" hackers are looking for wireless systems based on a standard called 802.11b, which has become very popular in both offices and homes where computers are networked. Also called WiFi, the high-frequency networks have an effective range of about 30 metres but can extend much further. WiFi has become popular as part of corporate local-area networks (LANs), allowing employees with laptops to go from office to office without having to plug their machines into different Ethernet outlets. Residential users like them because WiFi means they don't have to rewire their homes to connect computers in different areas of the house. The networks are all equipped with varying levels of encryption for privacy, but a surprising number of users neglect to activate the security features. A hacker sitting in a car in a company's parking lot could conceivably connect to an "open" network at leisure. "Wardriving" organizer Jason Kaczor said that more than 70 per cent of networks discovered by hackers driving around use no security safeguards at all. More insidiously, hackers can use wireless "packet sniffers" to capture data travelling across encrypted WiFi networks. They could later decode the captured data at their leisure, although the entire process involves expensive equipment and a lot of patience. In "wardriving," hackers drive around with laptops searching for both encrypted and unprotected networks. If they find an "open" one, they sometimes mark the site with chalk, placing a symbol on a nearby wall or sidewalk. The practice, called "chalking," uses symbols inspired by those used by hobos in the Depression, which indicated where other hobos could find free food or shelter. "Wardriving" organizer Jason Kaczor says there are "tens of thousands" of wireless networks operating throughout the world. He said his group has mapped hundreds in Calgary and Edmonton alone. Mr. Kaczor says that the game offers no prizes, has no rules and offers no glamour, it serves a purpose higher than mere hacking. "It is constructive in that it raises awareness with regards to privacy, security - or alternatively a complete lack of security - and the growing number of wireless networks sending information over, around and through an area," he said. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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