What is wardriving?
Wardriving is the process of seeking out accessible Wi-Fi networks by traveling around a community in a moving vehicle with a laptop computer, smart phone or personal digital assistant.
How does wardriving happen?
Hackers often drive around and look for unsecured wireless Internet connections, or Wi-Fi.
They do so hoping to capture a glimpse at some of your private data, which they hope to steal and use for criminal activity.
These hackers often use powerful antennas to scan neighborhoods for Wi-Fi networks that are either unlocked and contain no password, or that have a simple password that can be hacked.
While wardriving is perhaps the most common form of this tactic, the process originated with the movie WarGames.
In the moving, a character used wardialing to dial every phone number in a specific order while trying to locate modems.
Other versions have included warbiking, where a driver places a Wi-Fi enabled device on a motorcycle or bicycle and looks for open networks.
Warwalking and warjogging have also been used, though this method provided fewer opportunities to find accessible networks.
Trains and trams and other methods of travel have been used, too.
What are the dangers of wardriving?
When hackers find open Wi-Fi, they can then place malicious programs onto the network or look through your private data.
When attacking a home network, thieves could steal your name and passwords, your Social Security Number, your bank and credit card information, and much more.
That means they’ve stolen your identity, which leads to unauthorized purchases, fraudulent tax return filings or loan applications, and poor credit scores.
Hackers might also find corporate locations that have poorly protected Wi-Fi networks – or networks that aren’t protected at all.
This can lead to thieves stealing corporate secrets, employee information, or bank details that could allow the criminals to withdraw money.
Several large corporations have fallen victim to wardrivers, including Lowe’s, where criminals were able to hack into the system and steal credit card data.
Aside from the ability to steal your information, hackers could be using your Wi-Fi to commit other illegal activities.
How do I protect my network?
First of all, make sure your wireless network isn’t left on while you’re away from your home or business.
Secondly, don’t rely on the pre-installed password that comes with your router.
Default passwords are easy targets for hackers, so change your router’s password to something that’s difficult to crack.
If possible, consider using a combination of letters, numbers and symbols; the longer, the better.
Also, consider whether you actually need a wireless network.
If you own a business and don’t use devices that connect to a wireless Internet, rely on wire-connected devies for your Internet service.
When someone with evil intentions tries to find your Wi-Fi network, it won’t be there.
Corporate entities should consider modern routers that provide solid encryption services.
Install highly-rated firewalls, which are known to reduce the chance of a criminal getting into a network.