What is Wardriving? The Practice of Wireless Network Exploration
By Janne Smith 6 minutes
Sometimes, your smartphone will alert you to an available wireless network and ask whether you wish to connect. This happens because the wireless feature on your smartphone is constantly scanning for Wi-Fi signals to find open networks as you travel. And that explains what is wardriving at its core.
But that’s not it; with the rise of cyberattacks and a constant threat to user privacy and security, it’s rational to wonder if is wardriving a real threat? Let’s learn about it in this article, where we’ll dive into the basics and sketch out a brief overview.
On a Time Crunch? Skim Through the Key Takeaways
- Wardriving is a cyberattack where hackers find weak Wi-Fi access points.
- Attackers aim to breach networks and steal data using wardriving tools.
- It involves scanning for unprotected networks with Wi-Fi devices.
- Legality depends on local laws, but unauthorized network access is typically illegal.
- Wardriving threats include data theft, phishing, and identity theft.
- Prevent wardriving by using a VPN router and a strong password.
- Implement 2-factor authentication and use a firewall for network protection.
- Wardriving tools include packet sniffers and signal strength testers.
- Wardriving is a type of wireless piggybacking for unauthorized access.
- Secure WiFi by turning it off when unnecessary, and consider a trusted VPN.
What is Wardriving?
The phrase “wardriving” was first used in the movie “WarGames” when the approach was coupled with driving.
In cyber security, a wardriving attack is a cyberattack where cybercriminals map the locations of weak wireless access points that hackers may target. These networks frequently need password protection or use shoddy, out-of-date security methods.
The attacker drives past a location using a laptop or mobile device to record Wi-Fi network information to detect such unprotected networks. However, Wardriving has been less common in recent years, partly because more robust protocols like WPA, WPA2, and WPA3 have replaced weaker ones like WEP.
What Is the Purpose of Wardriving?
A wardriving attack assists attackers in decoding Wi-Fi routers and network passwords using wardriving software. The hackers try to infiltrate or breach networks using wardriving tools such as packet sniffers, traffic analyzers, signal strength testers, and specialized software.
The program runs on a mobile or laptop device with a Wi-Fi interface, and research results are occasionally shared on open platforms and mapping services like WiGLE.
How Is Wardriving Performed?
Here’s the wardriving attack basic. It stands on Wi-Fi signal identification within a specific range. Anyone can create a connection if the signal comes from an unprotected network without a password – frequently without the other network users’ knowledge.
In short, this is how it works:
- The essential function lies on a mobile device like a laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
- Wardrivers employ a wireless network card and wardriving antenna for scanning; some use the built-in antenna on their phone, while others choose specialized gear to improve scanning capabilities.
- There has to be a wardriving software to get around network security, such as WiFiphisher.
- Locating the susceptible network requires GPS, which a smartphone or another device may provide.
Is War Driving Legal?
Typically, Wardriving precedes an illegal activity. However, it’s essential to recognize that each jurisdiction’s particular laws will determine whether or not wardriving is lawful.
While Wardriving may be legal in certain countries, it is evident that any attempt to connect to networks or direct attacks towards them without authorization will be illegal.
Is Wardriving a Real Threat?
If your router is not secured enough and its signal may be picked up outside your house or business, Wardriving could become a risk.
When hackers access an unprotected network, they may listen in on user activity, steal sensitive information, and use it for phishing scams, illegal account access, malware distribution, or even identity theft.
Even if your networks are well-secured, connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, which are frequently more vulnerable to breaches, is still a problem. The good news is that you can still take precautions to protect yourself, whether you’re worried about unsafe public Wi-Fi connections or your unsecured networks.
How to Prevent Wardriving?
Here’s how you can prevent Wardriving:
Use a VPN Router
Using a VPN router or simply configuring your router with a stable VPN, like FastestVPN, is strongly advised to protect your Wi-Fi network from wardrivers.
A VPN router provides heightened security by encrypting all data flow between your devices and the network, unlike traditional routers that let you secure your Wi-Fi with a password. This cutting-edge encryption protects your devices from risks from internet service providers, hackers, and governmental organizations.
Use 2-factor Authentication
2-factor authentication requires two or more steps to log into the system. This may include combining a password with a code texted to your mobile device and input to continue. This adds an additional layer of security, strengthening the defense of your information against possible hackers.
Use a Firewall
Network protection is greatly aided by firewalls, which monitor access requests and stop illegal activity. Using firewalls adds a second degree of protection to your standard Wi-Fi settings.
Use a Strong Router Password
Wi-Fi router manufacturers frequently assign standard usernames and passwords for easy device setup and configuration.
However, since hackers can be familiar with these default credentials, changing them to a unique and customized combination is essential.
Keep the Private and Guest Network Separate
It’s essential to separate your private WiFi network from the guest. Since your private WiFi network can potentially contain sensitive data and it’s never wise to switch the same network to an open WiFi network, such as in lobbies or offices.
FAQs - What is Wardriving
What are wardriving tools?
A few wardriving tools include packet sniffers, signal strength testers, and traffic analyzers.
Is war driving a type of wireless piggybacking?
Yes, Wardriving is a type of piggybacking. Internet connections are made accessible outside of your home, even on the opposite side of your street, thanks to a wireless access point's broadcast range.
By now, you must have realized to keep your device’s WiFi network option off. While attackers might be forever looking for a device connection to intercept your device’s network, a constant WiFi lookup might be more harmful to your private data than you might think.
But you can’t always avoid making a mistake. And it’s best to invest in a trusted VPN that offers military-grade encryption, like FastestVPN, and ensures a complete device like no other Virtual Private Network.
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