Wardriving Definition

Howard Poston
Oct 19, 2023

Wardriving is when someone uses a laptop or smartphone to search for a Wi-Fi connection from a vehicle in motion. There are legitimate use cases for wardriving, but nefarious reasons exist behind it. Security researchers may use wardriving to identify unsecured Wi-Fi networks or users seeking a free internet connection. Cybercriminals will use wardriving to attack unsecured Wi-Fi networks to gain unauthorized access.

The Risks Associated with Wardriving

Wardriving targets unsecured networks, which usually consist of “free” public Wi-Fi networks. Individuals should exercise caution when using such networks since wardriving by malicious actors can lead to many harmful things.

  • Data theft – Devices connected to unsecured networks are at risk of having their data stolen.
  • Malware – Unsecured connections can increase the risk of malware being installed on a device.
  • DDoS attack – By using an unsecured network, wardriving can lead to denial-of-service attacks against other networks.

How To Protect Yourself Against Malicious Wardriving

Wardriving puts individuals and companies at risk since unauthorized access to data and a network can prove costly. Below are ways in which you can protect yourself against wardriving attacks.

  • If you are using a public network, a VPN or virtual private network encrypts your traffic, thus securing it against potential attacks.
  • Allow WPA2 encryption for your Wi-Fi network.
  • Stay up-to-date with software updates.
  • Be cautious when connecting to public networks.

Similar concepts exist where the transportation mode changes, but the approach remains the same (warbiking, warcycling, and warwalking).

Legitimate Use of Wardriving

As noted, wardriving can have legitimate uses for research purposes.

  • Securing public networks – Wardiving can identify vulnerabilities in public networks by sharing that information with network owners so they can come up with a fix.
  • Mapping accessibility – The internet is such an important aspect of everyday life that it can be as important as a utility. However, not everyone can afford an internet connection. Wardriving data can be used to create maps of free Wi-Fi hotspots, leading to higher access to internet services for individuals who cannot afford it.
Howard Poston

Howard Poston is a copywriter, author, and course developer with experience in cybersecurity and blockchain security, cryptography, and malware analysis. He has an MS in Cyber Operations, a decade of experience in cybersecurity, and over five years of experience as a freelance consultant.

Glossary Terms

Stay up to date with the most recent #infosec topics

Trending Topics

Interested In
Next-Gen MFA?

Discover Multi-Pass enterprise passwordless authentication

Share the page: