Worldwide 'war drive' exposes insecure wireless LANs

Tuesday, 10 September 2002, 11:44 AM EST

Amateur wireless LAN sniffers detected hundreds and of insecure wireless LANs in North America and Europe during the past week in a loosely organized electronic scavenger hunt dubbed the "Worldwide Wardrive."

Security analysts and wireless LAN industry executives said the results of the weeklong Worldwide Wardrive posted to the Security Tribe Web site indicate that many wireless LAN users still fail to use the most elementary form of security to protect their systems.

The Worldwide Wardrive, conducted between Aug. 31 and Sept. 7, was an exercise in detecting wireless LANs using NetStumbler freeware available on the Web that was carried out by people who describe themselves as hobbyists. But malevolent hackers and industrial or foreign espionage agents could easily exploit the holes found, analysts said. The logs posted on the Security Tribe Web site include precise GPS-derived latitude and longitude data of the wireless LAN access points (AP) detected during the Worldwide Wardrive that could also serve as an intelligence tool.

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