Monday, January 2, 2012

Wireless Access Points............Oh my!!

Okay, for Christmas Santa bought me a long-range USB wireless adapter (I love that fat man), and I've been playing with it for the past couple days. I bought the adapter, I mean was given one by Santa, because I'm running Backtrack 5 in a VM and need to have an adapter local for the wireless tools to work properly

Anyway, back to the real reason I'm writing this post. I booted up Backtrack, ran Kismet and noticed a TON of networks, much more than I normally noticed when using my regular wireless adapter in my laptop. So as a test I decided to launch "inSSIDer 2.0", and drive to the food store 3 miles away. If you're running Windows 7, inSSIDer is a great graphical wireless tool to see what networks are floating around out there.

So during the 3 mile drive with inSSIDer running, and a long range USB antenna (I'm assuming had a range of around 750ft, but don't quote on me on this), I located 1081 unique wireless access points!! Wait, it gets better, well kinda of, but most of the APs were running WEP or no encryption at all. I live in NY on Long Island so we're very densely populated, but I didn't assume to catch that many signals within a 3 mile drive. The scary thing is I was driving past many department stores, and I'm assuming that if I drove around a neighborhood the count would be higher.

This is very scary for a few reasons. One, what are these wireless signals doing to our bodies? This can't be good for anything. Secondly, people are relying more, and more on wireless networks, but don't seem to know or care how to securely configure them. This was very eye opening to me. Here's a quick graph with the SSIDs removed from inSSIDer. I just want to let these people know, but it seems like its a wide spread problem.

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