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HTMLfixIT Archive for the ‘War Driving’ Category

Thursday, May 27th, 2010 by Franki

The recent fuss about Google sniffing open WiFi networks while driving around taking images for street view is really not as big a deal as fear mongering politicians like Stephen Conroy would have you believe. Here are some points worth considering.

1. Open wireless networks are exactly that.. they are open to anyone that wants to connect to them. In Australia at least, if you don’t secure your wireless network, it’s not illegal for others to connect to it and you only have yourself to blame.
2. Connecting to a wireless network is not instant, it takes about 3 to 5 seconds to connect, be assigned an IP address and a route and start sniffing. Now picture your wireless router with a circle of at most 80 meters around it. Now picture a car driving past at 40km an hour….. by the time they were fully connected and able to catch packets, they’d be leaving range of your wireless network anyway so the amount of data that would be captured would be fairly tiny (like maybe 2 to 5kb). What that means, is that it wouldn’t even be a full email or file or anything remotely useful, and it wouldn’t be tied to you personally anyway. Google scientists are not reading your emails or browsing though your hard disks so relax people.
3. From what I’ve read, Google collected only roughly 600 gig from the entire world, most of that would be SSID names and assigned IP’s, so as I said in point 2, the amount of data we are talking about here, per wireless network is truly tiny.
As a test. I drove down the street past a couple of open wireless networks at 30kph and each time by the time my phone connected, I was already leaving wireless range.

As far as I am concerned, if you have not secured your wireless yourself, or paid someone to, then you shouldn’t have any expectation of wireless privacy at all. If you feel violated, you have only yourself to blame as people who secured their network have nothing to worry about with this.


Wednesday, November 30th, 2005 by Don

According to C-Net, New Orleans Louisiana is planning to build a Wi-Fi network to provide internet access to the citizens. I have seen some articles that suggest that a municipality is in an extreamly good position to build such as system as they already have the necessary locations for towers (light poles and so forth) and easements (roads) that they need for much of the installation. I have also read studies suggesting that a city may save enough in connectivity costs alone to fund the Wi-Fi. Private carriers argue against such systems, mainly because it will hurt their opportunities to sell in that market.

It will be interesting to see if in the short run the internet access becomes increasingly like broadcast television, freely available. If so, it may over time become more restrictive. If you provide free access to your citizens can you then control what they are able to access, blocking sites that may be deemed inappropriate?

1 Comment »

Friday, October 14th, 2005 by Don

A debate is raging over the propriety of having municipalities build wireless networks, or WiFi. Many think it will bring the internet to the masses in the large cities. Here is an interesting article about proposed “Muni – WiFi” in Philadelphia that suggests they may actually save money by installing it.


Thursday, March 10th, 2005 by Don

Wireless broadband offered city wide, or even in rural areas appears to be a growing trend. This is a good thing as it makes broadband accessible and affordable in most cases. Since the roll out of wireless in Grand Haven, Michigan in 2004, other cities have followed suit. Now, according to this article, Japan appears to be aggressively pursuing wireless not only in populated areas, but in more remote areas as well.

Two things made Grand Haven a particularly attractive spot for wireless broadband:
-There is a large state park there with weekly and daily campers who want to stay connected.
-There is a significant population of boaters who slip in the marina’s there (and can even use wireless up to ten miles off-shore).
Because this creates many monthly users, the ability to pay for the sytem may exceed that of areas with more stable populations.

Wireless has many advantages including the lack of needing to invest in the infra-structure of phone lines and/or cables to carry signal to each end user. The down side is that you create some security risks using wireless over a large area.

1 Comment »

Friday, January 14th, 2005 by Don

WEP cracks are on the rise with new tools that are available. SecurityFocus highlights some tools that now break WEP codes with very few packets.

1 Comment »

Friday, January 14th, 2005 by Don

War Driving, that act of driving around and finding open wlan’s has a new challenge. Paint that will block the wireless signal, presumably in or out. I guess for industrial or business models, it may make sense to shield signals. The article is silly saying $69 dollars a gallon is a lot. If it works, that is basically nothing compared to even a simple leak.

1 Comment »

Thursday, December 9th, 2004 by Don

This HP series of articles seeks to address WIFI Security. WIFI will grow increasingly popular and no doubt enable a whole new way of accessing information. Many are using wireless palms to get and send email on the fly already. Security should be part of any wireless users thought process at this point. This article makes some “beyond the basics” recommendations.

1 Comment »

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