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Wardriving and How Easy It Can Be Done

Ever wondered how your home Wi-Fi can be hacked if someone showed interest in it? It is easier than you though, with the only challenge being getting your hands onto the proper hardware. We have decided to explain how wardriving, the process of sniffing information from different Wi-Fi networks is conducted to better inform you and raise awareness on the risks for your home network.

What Is Wardriving

What Is Wardriving

Wardriving is the process of sniffing as much information as possible from wireless networks in a specific range of a vehicle. It has been around since the early 2000s. In 2023, wardriving still involves using a mobile device to map the Wi-Fi networks of an area, looking for unsecured or open networks that can be used without authentication. It is done by people on purpose to search for unprotected Wi-Fi networks, which makes it particularly concerning from a cybersecurity perspective. By finding and collecting information on networks, including passwords, hackers can then use this to gain access into systems and networks they should not be in.

What Hardware Is Needed for Wardriving

In order to wardrive a certain machine, there are several devices that are required. The first device is a mobile device, preferably a Laptop, tablet or a smartphone which is used for managing the operation and breaking encryption. Wireless network card and an antenna are also required in order to remotely sniff out the information safely and privately. GPS system is also required to assist with the proper pinpoint of the exact location of the Wi-Fi emitting device.

The proper software for Wardriving is also a must. You can have all the tools, but without the program which factorizes keys and detects their type (WPA, WPA2-PSK, WEP) as well as the password encryption(AES,TKIP, etc.). There are many programs that can scan for wireless networks out there. Nyxbone (Twitter: @nyxbone), a very popular white hat hacker, renders some of the most popular ones:

Linux software:
MAC Software:
iPhone software:
Windows software:
Ekahau HeatMapper
Android software:

How a Wardriver Would Do It Typically

According to research at SANS Institute, most WarDrivers out there would usually choose a laptop or a tablet that has been modified because these two devices offer portativity, have relatively moderate battery capacity and are powerful enough. From there, the cyber-criminals have to choose a software to run on the laptop, where different operating systems and scanning software result in different scanning speeds.

Regarding the wireless card, the specifics for it should be that it supports all different types of wi-fi for a higher range (a/b/g/n/ac, etc.). Researchers have reported that Hermers, Prism and Aironet are the three primary chipsets that are being used for WarDriving.

Another tool that is often used is a powerful antenna that can hopefully increase the wireless range. This type of antennas are not a must, but most WarDrivers prefer them because they enable them to locate networks on a higher distance. There are antennas that spread the transmitted signal on a territory that is wide, which are known as omni-directional. These are the main choice of criminals, because unlike direction antennas they do not limit their scanning range only to where they are pointed at.

Regarding the GPS device being used there is not much to say, that most wardrivers prefer to use a standard GPS that has a USB connection to a laptop in order to pinpoint the location of the Wi-Fi router being attacked.

When all of those methods are combined with the proper usage of scanning software. Such software acts as a network sniffer. It essentially sniffs out the packers to get enough information about the Wireless network, like the password of a given router, its SSID, its MAC address and its port-channel. This crucial information can then be deciphered while wardriving the network, to decrypt the encrypted password and hopefully gain access.

How to Protect Yourself from Wardriving and Malware

Once you are hacked as a result of someone wardriving your wi-fi router or hotspot, the cyber-criminals may enter the hacked device by sniffing out its IP address and sniff out all the traffic in your house, providing them access to your information. Furthermore, if the router is not secure enough, the hackers can modify its DNS settings to send you phishing web pages that may infect the computers on the network with malware and also infect the router as well. This is why it is always advisable to properly secure your router, by performing several crucial activities:

  • Hiding the SSID from public view.
  • Changing default router admin username and password.
  • Making a whitelist in the router that allows only the IP addresses of your home network to connect to it.
  • Securing the devices in the network with an anti-malware program.

Ventsislav Krastev

Ventsislav is a cybersecurity expert at SensorsTechForum since 2015. He has been researching, covering, helping victims with the latest malware infections plus testing and reviewing software and the newest tech developments. Having graduated Marketing as well, Ventsislav also has passion for learning new shifts and innovations in cybersecurity that become game changers. After studying Value Chain Management, Network Administration and Computer Administration of System Applications, he found his true calling within the cybersecrurity industry and is a strong believer in the education of every user towards online safety and security.

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