The Wardriving Experiment – Part 2

Filed under Wireless Security

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The following is the continuation for “The Wardriving Experiment – Part 1“. To recap…I decided to setup a little wardriving experiment to really get an idea on how many people are still using WEP to secure their wireless access points. I also wanted to find out if people still setup a wireless network without encryption. Results in the following article are from a medium populated suburban neighborhood near a large city.


I drove in a approximate 6 mile area and was able to pick up 194 access points. Results were sampled a few months ago (unfortunately, I am just getting around to analyzing this data…busy life gets in the way!)

Equipment Used

PowerBook G4 running KisMac 0.21a
D-Link DWL-122 USB Wireless Adapter (version A1)
USGlobalSat BU-353 USB GPS (this is a cheap GPS you can find on eBay as well)

GPS and Wireless Adapter Setup

I took the GPS and placed it out the window of my car so I could get a good signal and I used a USB extender cable with the wireless adapter and secured it to my dashboard. Before I left my driveway, I made sure KisMac had my GPS coordinates and everything was working properly.

I must say, once I got the serial to USB drivers working, the GPS unit works extremely well! Not bad for a $50 GPS unit.

Laptop Setup

A good hint prior to wardriving is to disable the “sleep” function on you laptop. This is so you can close the lid on you laptop while you drive. Depending on the laws in your state, I have heard that driving with your laptop open is illegal! So, probably not a bad idea to do this. On OS X you do this by following the “Insomnia” instructions. This is a simple kernel extension to temporarily disable sleep mode on your Mac.

The Results

These results shouldn’t shock anyone but it does show that most people still do not secure their wireless networks. Keep in mind, I took out any ad-hoc networks so so these are all standard “access points”.

87 (45%) “Open” Unsecured Wireless Networks
71 (37%) Using WEP
36 (19%) Using WPA

Interesting to see that there was almost the same amount of WEP encrypted networks as there were “open” networks. Out of all 194 of these networks you also have to wonder how many of these WEP and WPA networks use easy to guess passwords, I would be willing to bet quite a few…perhaps 75% or more. Another reason to use a long passphrase when setting up your access point.

Next up in part 3, I will discuss wardriving in more detail to include some history, good websites for reference and some ethical things to consider if you decide to try wardriving, warbiking, or warwalking on your own.

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