July 22, 2002

OK, I've given wardriving a chance, and it just doesn't cut it.

For those that don't know, wardriving is when you drive aroudn with a laptop with a 802.11 card and look for wireless access points. If you find one, you can probably connect to it and be ont he internet via someone else's broadband connection.

Wardriving is an allusion to the older hacker sport of wardialing. Wardialing was/is the term used when you use a modem to scan telephone numbers for other modems or use a modem to hack out telephone calling card numbers. Not that I even did such a thing. There is no way that I did this in high school.

In any case, I had been driving around town with a laptop and a wireless card for a week or so and was impressed to see how many WAPs (wireless access points) were around. I even connected to one at a local coffee shop and posted to here.

Last night, I went out with the specific goal of connecting to a WAP in a secret way. I had to try it. The geek allure was too high. After trying several times, I found that you basically needed to park directly in front of someone's house to even get a minimal signal. 20 feet in either direction, and you would be unable to get a good signal. I found it quite unnerving to be parked in front of someone's house trying to access their computer system. It had quite a different feel than sitting comfortably at home with a soda pop while port scanning a box on the other side of the world.

As a hobby, I decided it just wasn't for me. I guess if you live in a denser area with more WAPs around, it might work better, but in the suburbs of LA, it isn't much fun.

Posted by michael at July 22, 2002 11:12 PM