[Home]Cardinal Rules Of Wardriving FAQ

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This page contains the top 100 rules (hints, tips, tricks) of Wardriving.

1. Wardriving is mapping wireless networks (gps+wifi). It's not connecting or hacking.

2. It is best to use Kismet (http://kismetwireless.net) for Linux Ubuntu or Cygwin/Win32?, Kismac (http://kismac.de) (for Macs), WiGLEWiFi for Android. Netstumbler was popular for Win XP, but is no longer updated.

3. You need a card with an external antenna connector. You can do this without one, but you'll find somewhat fewer points.

4. Atheros, Orinoco, and Prism cards are very safe bets. Try to avoid Atmel, or anything that needs NDISWrapper to work under Linux.

5. Multiple Omni antenna are important especially with magmounts so that they are outside of the car (possibly 7db mag mounts). Directional Antenna (such as cantennas) aren't very helpful.

6. No, the $20 mag mount you saw is probably not a good deal.

7. FAB Corp (http://www.fab-corp.com) is a good place to start looking for antenna. But look around - you might find the same antenna cheaper elsewhere (but make sure it IS the same antenna).

8. You'll want to upload .gps, .csv, and .xml files from kismet for maximum effect.

9. Drive in the ghetto (but be careful)!

10. Use a dc > dc power adapter if possible (it's more efficient than an ac>dc inverter).

11. Do something to protect your pigtails - don't rip the sockets off your card, or the connectors off your pigtail. They aren't cheap...

12. Your GPS needs WAAS for better accuracy! 2 big reasons: 1. You'll find more points with coordinates 2. Otherwise your points will be off by up to 25m.

13. There is a great KLC script written by Nicolas Boet and enhanced by Dutch to combine Kismet logs.

14. Plot the results. You will find interesting areas in places you covered. Maybe a reason to go back to some roads. KH

15. If you want pretty pictures at home use gpsmap or the kismet2kml script + google earth.

16. If you want pretty pictures while driving use gpsdrive (don't hurt yourself).

17. No, you can't use your tv antenna (unless you mod a primestar dish) to find wifi. It's the wrong impedance and optimised for the wrong frequency.

18. In Kismet, don't dump tcp packets or log weak (LEAP?) or cisco packets. That may be classified as an illegal wiretap, depending on laws.

19. Don't use other people's networks. That's not Wardriving it's Piggybacking!

20. No, we can't help you use Wepcrack or Airsnort to find the WEP key you've 'forgotten.'

21. Read Israel's Chronicles of a Wardriver, especially the how-to, if you can find a copy.

22. Read the FAQ's at Churchofwifi and Netstumbler.org.

23. Higher gain isn't necessarily better - they only extend out further, and flatter. For wardriving around taller buildings, use a lower gain antenna - it'll have a taller vertical sphere of influence. But out in the country, use a higher gain antenna. themacuser

24. Plan routes. If you really want to cover an area, take a webmap of the area, print it and start planning in which roads to hit in which order. You will cover a bigger area if you don't have to stop and look at the map every 2 corners, and it will be more enjoyable. (And it will look less suspicious too.) KH .A live map (car GPS) with a displayed track is useful for this as well. The navigator can easily see if you have driven down this street. It is fine to drive through a neighborhood slowly ONCE. Circling because you are lost won't help you, and can cause concern among local residents. ~argh

25. Multiple cards on multiple channels are a good idea. Grab a few USB wireless cards (that are supported under Kismet, or KisMac? i.e. probably Ralink or Prism2 for best results), and a USB hub. Use them to supplement your main setup - they might just find a few APs your other setup missed. More than one card is the same as driving the area more than one time at once. If you're feeling especially rich, 11/13/14 cards, one on each channel to guarantee you pick everything up! themacuser

26. If possible, have a team of at least two in one car. If it's just you, put the laptop with it's screen off in the back seat - do NOT look at it while driving. - themacuser. Driving with laptop or compuer access may be illegal (for example, California, Massachusetts, UK). Even if not specifically illegal, it may fall under more-general "distracted driving" laws.

27. Be careful with tall antennas and driving under low trees / car parks / bridges - half an antenna doesn't quite work so well. - themacuser

28. If you're using a unidirectional preamp with a card, ensure the card doesn't transmit. Use the auxillary antenna socket (the top one, but ensure you have the right one) on the Senao 2511 cards - this doesn't transmit, it only receives.

29. Don't ever try warwalking with a desktop :) - themacuser

30. If using an inverter in a vehicle, a low-wattage UPS may be a good idea (if you suddenly turn off the engine, or something goes wrong, everything doesn't suddenly lose power).

31. Channels 1,6, and 11 are the most common channels in the US, because they don't overlap each other. 6 tends to be the most popular default setting. 1 and 11 are at opposite ends of the spectrum and are used less often.

32. Don't use a high gain antenna with Netstumbler and an amplifier. It's illegal and you'll boil your testicles and eyeballs.

33. Use Kismac / Kismet over NetStumbler. A passive stumbler will find all those APs that have hidden SSIDs. NetStumbler will just miss all of them. Also, NetStumbler will miss APs in a situation of inbalanced power - if the AP is 90mw, and the card is 15, you will be able to receive the packets from the AP, but the AP may not be able to hear you. Kismet/Kismac? will find the AP just fine, as they only depend on receiving beacons and data pckets. Netstumbler will attempt to send a probe request, which the accesspoint will not get, and thereby not be able to reply to, and one less AP will be on your logs. -- themacuser

34. Don't mix active and passive mode. Netstumbler on one machine with Kismet on another, and the antennas next to each other is probably not a good idea - all the packet spamming done by Netstumbler will raise noise levels and possibly collide with packets Kismet is trying to receive. -- themacuser

35. Don't bother with 802.11a. I stumbled for an entire hour (had an 802.11a card running along with b/g), and found one network on a, and a few thousand on b/g. --themacuser

36. Read version numbers / FCC IDs carefully when buying cards. Card makers have been known to use the "chipset special of the week" when building their cards. One example is Linksys, who with the WUSB11, switched from prism2, to prism2.5 to atmel, depending on version number. Or the Netgear MA111 - v1 was prism2, but v2 is SIS. --themacuser

37. Make sure you have a gpslock before you start moving and before you start Kismet. Sitting out in the open for 2 or 3 minutes while starting gps and Kismet will greatly help the overall success of the whole drive.

38. A new(ish) GPS unit can give lots better results in city wardriving (what is referred to as the 'canyon' problem is also happening in the city: lots of city blocks to the side blocking your views), GPS units got a lot better the last few years (with sirf2 and sirf3 chipsets) --KH

39. Try other modes of transportation: walking, cycling, running, taking the bus, train, light rail, or boat can all bring you to new networks. --KH

40. 35-45 MPH is the most effective speeds to Wardrive.

41. Your daily commute can be a wardrive and a way to learn the area: just vary the route you take in bits and pieces (depending on time available and traffic). And with the current (mid2007) growth/updates in wireless networks, you can find new networks when visiting the same area a week later. --KH

100. If you're mapping wireless networks, you might consider mapping your routes and posting them to [Openstreetmap]. The best way (in my opinion --KH): convert the track to a gpx file, and import that file in 'josm', the java openstreetmap editor. Reconstruct the roads and other objects you visited from your tracks and/or upload them to the OSM projectpage.

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