I was reading about the case where Google Street View cars recorded a lot of data flooding around the air while photographing for the Street view project. As far as I understand, they got in to trouble because the picked up some unencrypted personal data, like mails etc. However, the ISSIDs and MAC address of the routers, which was picked up during the drive, was not a legal issue. Google themselves also explains that they are not the only ones doing this, and that it is done to improve their services:
“WiFi network information: which we use to improve location-based services like search and maps. Organizations like the German Fraunhofer Institute and Skyhook already collect this information globally.”
Since it seems to be perfectly legal to pick up this information I decided to test out how to do this. The term Wardriving means to move around, either by foot or by vehicle to pick up information about wireless networks. Devices equipped with both Wifi adapter and GPS make this very easy. Wireless Geographic Logging Engine (WiGLE) is a website devoted to picking up such information and uploading it to a central map online. By showing how vulnerable wireless networks can be, they hope to prove how important it is the keep you network equipment up to date, and to use an encrypted with a strong algorithm.
There is an app in the google play store called Wigle Wifi wardriving, which make wardriving incredible easy.
1. Download and install Wigle Wifi wardriving
2. Enable wifi and GPS on you android device
3. Start walking
Ones you are done, you can upload your map to WiGLE or you can export it to and .csv or .kml file. The .kml file is comparable with Google Earth. I did two test of this – the first one while driving home from work, shown in the top of this tutorial and one walking around the city I currently live in – Frederica.
I think the results speak for them selfs. They are pretty accurate and pick an alarming amount of information, which you would otherwise think was private. In my opinion, this shows how vulnerable wireless networks is, and the importers to use a good encryption on your network combined with a strong password.