The phrase ‘war dialing‘ comes from the early age of the home computer when hackers were able to cycle through numbers to find unprotected computers. This lead to the WarDriving and WarCycling where hackers would, unsuspectingly, cruise around the neighborhood and find unprotected/weak WiFi networks.
Now security research Gene Bransfield has ‘developed‘ the WarKitteh. Inspired by the geolocation collars you can get to track your pets location, he developed a collar with a 4 simple pieces of equipment, for less than $100. The equipment (GPS tracker, PIC, WiFi sniffer and battery) can easily be obtained and expanded upon and used by any hacker to create some mischief or major damage.
The WarKitteh’s purpose was to map neighbouring WiFi’s and find out how secure they were. Over a 3 hour period Bransfield obtained the details for 23 WiFi hotspots, a third of which were either unprotected or using weak security. Of course this isn’t practical, though highly entertaining, but it is possible to get apps for most mobile phones that is able to do just this, and more, while you walk around town.
Previously he created the DoS (Denial of Service) dog based upon an idea from LadyMerlin. The dog carried a small bag on his back and using some simple computer equipment he was able to walk around town switching off peoples TVs, something which he liked to do during the World Cup.
Of course this is a fairly harmless project but it goes to show that we should never settle when it comes to our personal data and we should aim to maximize security as much as we can – especially when it’s as simple as encrypting your WiFi. If you have a few spare minutes we’d highly recommend watching Bransfield’s DEF CON talk below – it’s not only highly entertaining but educational.