Wardriving Ethics

Feb 23 22:00 2003 Richard Johnson Print This Article

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Background Information
In order to start to understand what War-Driving is,Guest Posting some information needs to be explained. Wireless networking is a fairly new technology which is being used all over the world. Both home users and business alike are using wireless technology. Using wireless technology lets computer users connect to the Internet and to their network without being restricted by cables.

Pros of wireless networks
- Users can connect to Internet and their network without using cables
Users can be nine-hundred feet or more away from an access point which enables connectivity
Cons of wireless networks
It’s a new technology and still in the infancy stage.
Security of information on network can be compromised

War-driving is a process which an individual uses a wireless device such as a laptop or PDA to drive around looking for wireless networks. Some people do this as a hobby and map out different wireless networks which the find. Other people, who can be considered hackers, will look for wireless networks and then break into the networks. If a wireless is not secure, it can be fairly easy to break into the network and obtain confidential information. Even with security, hackers can break the security and hack.

War-chalking is a method, usually using chalk, to display information on wireless networks. War-driving is usually the method used to search for networks, and then the person will mark a network with chalk that gives information about the network. Some of the information would include, what the network name is, whether the network has security, and possibly the contact information of who owns the network.

Ethical Issues
As described above, war-chalking is a method or service to assist people in finding something, an Internet connection.

When looking at the ethical issues, three main questions come to mind:
-Is it theft?
-Is it harmful?
-Is it stoppable?

Is it theft?
According to webster.com theft is defined as: the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it.

While war-chalking and war-driving activities identify and mark wireless networks, they are not removing or depriving the owner of his/her wireless connectivity.

Is it harmful?
I don't believe its harmful, you aren't possibly harming anything by war-chalking. War-chalking is only a process of identifying networks. It would be like going around a neighborhood and somehow making marks on public property identifying if a house has a deadbolt installed or not.

Is it stoppable?
Owners of wireless networks can modify their equipment so war-drivers cannot find their wireless networks.

War-driving and war-chalking are new activities that technology advanced people are doing for a hobby. While no laws are in place to make war-chalking illegal, maybe someday there will be.



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Richard Johnson
Richard Johnson

RJ Computer Consulting

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