All about computer, communications and consumer electronics (3C)

Gearing up for war driving

Posted by Suntrekker on November 22, 2007

I already posted a topic regarding about the largest wifi hotspot here in Davao at my other blog site. This is a more detail about war driving.

Imagine yourself driving late at night here at Davao metropolis. You have a full tank of gas, it’s dark, and a faint electronic glow illuminates the right side of your face. As each house or building passes by, your laptop blips out another group of unusual words like tsunami, default, dog house, taffy, 101, spock, or who knows? Or picture yourself driving home from work, taking the scenic route— through the commercial district. Just to see what pops up. A blip pops up on your laptop. Hmm… a new access point. This one reveals the presence of a Wi-Fi network. You’ve started to experience the allure of war driving. Invisible waves pop up on your computer screen revealing the unknown and unseen.

One of the interesting aspects of war driving is that you will find wireless access points where you least expect it.

The original term war driving has also spawned a host of derivatives applying to many situations in which people scan while not actually driving—for example, war walking, war strolling, war boating, and war flying. They all mean one thing: looking for wireless networks, usually while moving. We prefer to scan while driving.

Some people have promoted the idea that the war in war driving is actually an acronym for “Wireless Access Reconnaissance.” This is really an after-the-fact case of creating an acronym for a simple word. But it sure sounds less ominous than war.

I used NetStumbler software since this is by far easiest program to use to get started and produces great results! I Will not mention any discovered wireless network I stumbled upon… ahihihi

Screenshot of NetStumbler taken earlier.

Plugging it all in

Everything is ready. It’s time to get on the road. Start small at first.Drive up and down your street to see how far away your home network is visible. Then start driving around the neighborhood.

Everything is ready to go
Everything is ready to go!

You will be tempted to watch the screen while driving. This habit is very dangerous and definitely not recommended. To avoid distraction, have someone with you to monitor the signals. Make sure the power management option is set up for Always On operation so the laptop doesn’t go to sleep.

Discover the Invincible

You will be surprised where wireless networks appear. And you will be even more surprised when the names people have chosen for their network SSID comes across your screen. Be prepared for the humorous, laughable, obscene, and bizarre.

A remarkable number of access points are using the default configuration. Many people buy an AP and just plug it in. Since most APs are designed to work out of the box, people just leave them at the minimum configuration.


A huge number of networks are “wide open,” meaning you could jump onto the network and surf the Web, check e-mail, or access computers on that WLAN. This tactic is ill-advised and probably illegal. Even if the “door is open,” personally, it may still be considered a crime to use a network without permission.


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