outssiderI think it was in 2006 I attended my first hacker convention in San Diego called Toorcon. It was pretty cool because the company I worked for at the time was a sponsor, so they paid for my admission in. I will never forget one of the guys that I saw there. Dude was bald with a douchy bluetooth headset on, a military M1 jacket with cammo pants, sunglasses indoors, combat boots, and of course a backpack with a friggin’ antenna coming out of the back that was easily six feet tall. The dude was a serious wardriver.

What is wardriving you ask? According to Wikipedia:

Wardriving is the act of searching for Wi-Fi wireless networks by a person in a moving vehicle, using a portable computer, smartphone or PDA…

…Wardriving originated from wardialing, a technique popularized by a character played by Matthew Broderick in the film WarGames, and named after that film. Wardialing in this context refers to the practice of using a computer to dial many phone numbers in the hopes of finding an active modem.

Basically you drive around, and look for open wireless networks. Simple right?

Now I’m not saying you need to be like the guy at the hacker convention, but sometimes it’s nice to know where in town you can go to catch some free Internet in case you have to send an emergency Tweet, or update Facebook at the drop of the hat.

Well I found a cool tool that runs on Windows that will automatically try find and connect to open wireless networks when you’re in range, and will alert you to stop when it has found an open access point and is trying to connect.

The tool is called outSSIDer, and you can get it as a free download. From their page:

outSSIDer automatically attempts to connect to any open access point that comes within range as you walk down the streets hunting for WiFi.

When an attempt is made it alerts you with sound to stand still and wait. That way you don’t need to watch the screen while walking – you can even close the laptop lid to save battery!

The connection is then verified against payment hotspots and restricted networks by trying to fetch the Google website icon.

If it fails connecting or verifying, it alerts you with the sound again and resumes scanning.

outSSIDer WiFi scanner - Google Chrome_2011-11-28_13-49-14

This tool is light and easy to use, and certainly a good tool to have in your wardriving goody bag. Do you go wardriving ever? What tools do you like to use? Let us know in the comments!

-=El Di Pablo=-

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