The WarCycle

With gas prices going through the roof and the weather staying pretty nice, I've been doing a lot of running around on my bicycles lately. Occasionally, when I feel like riding somewhere new, I'll throw my wardriving rig onto the back of a bicycle and head out.

I have wireless broadband almost anywhere in the US, and open WiFi has practically become an expected commodity at many restaurants and shops. I have no need to "steal" wireless from home users, and have no desire to go cracking WEP keys, either. Mostly, I just scan for networks for the sport and competition, logging all of the ones I find to WiGLE, where, at the time of writing I'm currently ranked 121st out of more than 4,000 people who apparently felt like uploading stumble files to WiGLE.

I'm currently using a piece of flat metal strapped down to some pannier bags on my bike to mount the 19dBi omni-directional antennae for my stumble rig. My tweaked HP Jornada 720 provides the brain and software (JLime Linux, Kismet and GPSd) for scanning, and GPS Coordinates come from an old Garmin GPS12. Wireless signals are gathered by a 200mW EnGenius 2511CD+ EXT2 card. Everything except the antennae are inside one of the bags on the bike:

While a bicycle certainly lacks the speed advantage of a car, the low speed and close proximity to the edge of the road gives a bicycle a distinct advantage over using a car for locating wireless nets. I also use a lot of smaller residential roads to get around. Many wardrivers miss these smaller streets, leaving behind whole blocks of densely-packed homes ripe for the picking.

I've used quite a few different rigs for wireless scanning both on bicycles and in my cars. Here's some photo love:

Warcycle 1.0: Mountain bike with HP Jornada 680e, Windows CE, MiniStumbler, Garmin eTrex GPS, EnGenius Card, 2x 19dBi antennae. This was taken at the March 2007 KC 2600 Meeting.

Ford Escort, NEC Versa 4050C, OpenBSD, BSD Airtools, Garmin eTrex GPS, Linksys WPC11v3

Ford Focus, Jornada 720, JLime, Kismet, Engenius card, GPS12 and dual 19dBi antennae. I used this rig when I went to hang out with some Hak5 guys in April.

Same setup at the first photo, but with a different bicycle (Trek 1200) and the antennae are strapped to the tops of the bag. When the Jornada's tucked away, this is a stealthy setup but not quite as sensitive as having the antennae mounted upright.

There seems to be a healthy following of WarDriving as a sport on WiGLE, surprisingly.

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