Wardriving for Wi-Fi

Friday, 13 December 2002, 10:18 AM EST

Chris Burchett doesn't look like a malicious hacker. He pulls up in a shiny SUV, walks up to my front porch and gives me a fresh-faced grin and handshake.

It shouldn't surprise me that Burchett doesn't look like a malicious hacker. He isn't one. He's a perfectly respectable technical services manager for BOLDstreet Inc., a perfectly respectable local wireless startup.

But we're about to go wardriving, and there's a tinge of the unsavoury to that. Wardriving is the term used in wireless technology circles for driving around, looking for networks operating on radio frequencies.

Some wardrivers hack into the networks they find. Wardriving has attracted a lot of attention recently, so much so that many Wi-Fi enthusiasts fear it will unfairly taint the image of wireless technology.

Sgt. Chuck Scott, of the RCMP's technological crime unit in Ottawa, says no reliable statistics exist on Wi-Fi malicious hacking in Canada, mainly because many victims don't report the incident. But there's no denying the hacker appeal of wireless networks that ooze out of the buildings where they're based.

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