Currently, many private residents have purchased “Wireless Fidelity” (Wi-Fi) network, in effect enabling their members of the family to gain access to, for example, network drive or a printer from any location within the house. When this technology lacks the suitable security, neighbors, as well as other individuals who could be driving within the neighborhood may as well gain access to the internet, through the use of notebook computers that have been suitably equipped with the Wi-Fi network. Wardriving is a term used in reference to that act of hunting for and manipulating free connection to gain access to wireless networks that are unsecured in nature (Edward 1). Wardriving has been exploited to a great extent by hackers, who are always on the lookout for loopholes that would enable them hack wireless networks that are unsecured.
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Nonetheless, it is not just hackers that actively utilize wardriving, a majority of the computer users today have made wardriving a regular activity. For example, a division of KPMG that deals with computer security undertook a study in which a dummy point of access was established to enable the researchers detect wardrivers activity. According to the research findings of this study, the average number of attempts on a daily basis to gain access to the established dummy wireless network was 3.4. Such a high average number of hacking attempts may be due to the fact that a majority of the Wi-Fi sites lack any form of security measures (Edward 11).
The issue of wardriving with respect to the sharing of unauthorized Wi-Fi is a practice that is surrounded by an ethical dilemma. The issue of seeking consent to utilize the signals of another individual, with the possibility of even contributing financially towards such a shared resource is quite controversial. Edward (2) argues that this may only apply in a situation whereby one has made a positive identification of the individual whose signal they share. On the other hand, incase one is not in a position to make a positive identification of the owners to the wireless access points which a user has stumbled upon, it becomes hard to assume responsibility of the activity of wardriving (Edward 12). It may be that the other user failed to close their node, which is why another user is able to share their wireless connection.
A majority of the broadband service providers usually advise their clients to desist from the temptation of having cable modern connection or Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) that are shared outside the confines of their homes. The Acceptable Use Policy, in addition to Terms of Service for DSL, usually forbid this form of sharing, by reiterating that the customer should not under any circumstances sell to a third party the Broadband Service, take part in non-commercial or commercial activities such as resale, or utilize the service to gain high volume benefits (Edward 12).
Hackers have taken advantage of the loopholes that characterize wardriving to steal debit and credit card numbers of customers to for example, various banks. These hackers are able to illegally gain access to wireless computer networks. This way, numerous retailers have fallen victim to wardriving when their wireless computer network has been hacked into, according to Roberts (1). In this case, such hackers usually install programs that are able to “sniff” card number information, account information and passwords of the credit and debit cardholders. Then, this information is manipulated by hackers to generate ITie cards (cointerteir cards) that they later use on automated teller machines (ATMs) to make various withdrawals, in addition to purchasing of merchandise.
Freeman (12) has highlighted a serious wardriving that took place at Best Buy stores in 2002, a chain that specializes in the sale of electronics. According to Freeman, several of the Best Buy stores implemented a wireless network which could allow their cash registers relay information to a centrally located computer at a designated point within the store to facilitate processing of the information. In this case, the information relayed would also include customers’ credit and debit card numbers. However, it was later on indicated that there was a chance that a wardriver, while situated at the parking lot of the store in question, was in a position to gain access to this type of data. This further confirms how vulnerable wireless technology can be, which is why wardriving is such a common practice with respect to a WI-Fi network.
Wardriving is no different from that various types of hacking that are in existence, in that it gets the hackers hooked to it. Even as a “code of ethics” exists to attempt and control this activity, the practice is still characterized by an illegality element, never mind that both the Congress and the courts have reiterated their firm stance with regard to this practice. On the basis of the individual inherent sense of privacy and personal property, wardriving may be regarded as a type of eavesdropping, despite the fact that it lacks an access to data.
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Organizations are usually reminded to ensure that they incorporate security measures that would ensure that their data integrity is protected. Organizations are further advised to ensure that their network is made private, as a way of reducing problems that are associated with illegal entry not only at the present time, but also in the days to come. Even if outsiders have access to a network, they stand to gain very little. The onus is therefore on the individual owners of Wi-Fi to allow or restrict wardriving.
Freeman, Edward. “Wardriving: Unauthorized Access to Wi-Fi Networks” Legally Speaking.2006.
Roberts, Edward. “Feds Bust Ring In TfX, BJ’s Data Breaches.” Credit union journal 12.32 (2008): 1-3.