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Problem with the definition[edit]

The definition as it exists is contentious, and requires references in my opinion. As Goldfndr noted to me, WP:NOR, but the definition itself is asserted without further citation. --Anduin13

Stealing someones identity by wardriving?[edit]

I read that newer passports can be read by wardrivers and the identity stolen without you showing your passport to the wardriver, any terms from that? RGDS Alexmcfire

Do you have a citation for this? Perhaps what you read about was detecting RFID chips. Those chips aren't wireless networks, and therefore someone detecting them wouldn't be wardriving anymore than a person carrying a geiger counter. --Goldfndr 09:55, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

UK Legislation[edit]

The UK legislation section was filled with inaccuracies, so I've edited. I have included the major pieces of legislation referring to wardriving, as well as sources to the arrests and convictions.

While a lot of people do it, it is still illegal in the UK, something which should be made clear in the page.

The WTA does not really apply, but I have left a reference to it. Andrés Guadamuz, Law Lecturer, University of Edinburgh --Anduin13

Andrés, while you have provided sources to some arrests and a conviction, they are for Piggybacking, not Wardriving. In fact, the Piggybacking article mentions both. Do you have a source for an arrest or conviction specifically for Wardriving? Also, I'm having a hard time considering the "electronic communications service" of Section 125 as being a part of Wardriving (detecting/logging) as opposed to Piggybacking, could you cite an article that underscores your point? And if Section 1 considers the atmosphere to be "a public telecommunication system", could you cite that as well? Please remember, WP:NOR. --Goldfndr 10:28, 2 May 2007 (UTC)
This is a problem of definitions, and I believe that the article uses a very narrow definition of wardriving. While I agree that there is a distinction with piggybacking, most of the legal literature does not make such distinction, and both terms are conflated. I will edit the relevant section with references. --Anduin13

Relevant UK Legislation[edit]

There are 3 Wireless Telegraphy Acts, 1949 c.54, 1967 c.72, and 1998 c.6 There are 3 Broadcasting Acts, 1981 c.68, 1990 c.42 and 1996 c.55 There is 1 Communications Act, 2003 c.21 Plus other references in quite a lot of other Acts Hang on a bit before citing references, an official UK Statutory Law database will be online in the near future, which hopefully will be referenceable from here.

it is not illegal to simply use the internet connection of an open wireless network

This looks dangerously like legal advice. Bad legal advice, because as far as I know, this has not been proven in court. I guess it depends on how you define `open wireless network'. Obviously, if a cafe puts up free WiFi access, that's an open wireless network. But if somebody installs a Linksys router at home with the defaults, obviously it's open, but to actually use it, I imagine that the law could get upset.

Who cares if its legal or not. I do it in the UK and i'm having loads of fun with it. I've been stopped by the Police on many ocashons but that was for parking on hard sholders with no real cause, when they asked what i was doing, i replyed WarDriving, leaving the Copper with his head up his ass wondering what i ment LMAO

The law does not get "upset." The law is more of a set of rules than a moral thing. If prosecution argues successfully that such and such is an offence, then the judge can sentence you. If they can't, the judge can't. Simple as that. If it cannot be argued, then you are safe.

Reference to using open access points[edit]

In the "Ethical Considerations" section, casual mention is made to it being normal for wardrivers to engage in what is most probably a crime (accessing open wireless networks and 'stealing' bandwidth). I think that this should be handled with caution, as I personally don't think this falls under "Wardriving" and although it's related, and should be discussed in the article, it shouldn't be dropped in there with no education for the reader. Any thoughts? godsmoke 16:56, 17 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes, piggybacking/tapping may be performed by leeches after wardriving, but most (if not all) wardriving software must be exited before piggybacking. For example, NetStumbler will encounter all sorts of trouble if one tries to use it and a Wireless client simultaneously, and I'm guessing the same would happen with Kismet, not sure about Kismac or others. For this reason (inability to wardrive and piggyback simultaneously), I'm reverting the past two days edits and spelling it out more clearly. --Goldfndr 06:08, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

Ridiculous Picture[edit]

"War driving is often a surreptitious activity: this long-range wardriver leaves only his shadow."

a) How surreptitious can you be with a whacking great directional antenna on your vehicle? b) What's with the comic book captioning?

All in all I find the picture and it's caption a complete joke. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 08:53, 22 September 2005

So, looking at the history I see the picture was also removed by User:Noitall who has aparently taken up a campaign against me because I supported the deletion of some non-sourced probable copyvio images which he supported keeping. I guess you happened to sumble into the bad luck of appearing right after noitall took a break from editing logged in, and making edits simmlar in style to his... I think the quality of the picture is poor myself. I took it 4 years ago to illustrate a presentation I did on wireless security, and found it again while scanning through content I could contribute to articles. The caption is factually accurate and even that case the activity was surreptitious as we were accessing a network miles away, although when juxtaposed with the image it is somewhat humerous. As a result, although the image is poor, we have recieved a great number of compliments about it. I would fully support set of better illustrations for the article, but the subject can actually be a challenge to illustrate well. Do we just show a car to illustrate wardriving? Or just some laptop with kismet? .. I have a number of other pictures we could use, but none of them are that good, most are somewhat silly, and most of the other pictures that show mobile wireless activity include people, which I prefer to avoid for Wikipedia illustrations. I thought the big honking antenna did a reasonable job, and I'd encourage you to create a better image rather than just leave the article imageless. If you need help creating an account so you can upload your results, please contact me on my talk page. --Gmaxwell 03:37, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
Oh, and note on humor. It is clear that humor is quite acceptable in Wikipedia, as long as it doesn't stand in the way of our encyclopedic goals. See articles like exploding whale or many other subjects in Wikipedia:Unusual_articles. --Gmaxwell 04:26, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
I like the photo, but I don't think it's a good fit for an encyclopedia article. A better image would be a direct shot of the vehicle + antenna. But the caption, certainly, reads either as being exceedingly pretentious, or (hopefully) just plain ironic. — Matt Crypto 09:00, 25 September 2005 (UTC)
It looks just like a joke to me. zachol 02:16, 23 January 2006 (UTC)
Eh, no. As I said above. It's intended to be thought provoking. With the amount of gain behind that antenna it would be trivial to access networks a great distance away. So that rig is simultaniously obvious and surreptitious. --Gmaxwell 06:38, 24 February 2006 (UTC)
This picture is listed on BJAODN, but is still in the article. Doesn't bad jokes and other 'deleted' nonsense mean that it has been deleted? --Phantom784 00:51, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Nah, because it's actually an informative picture as well. Though there are better places than bjaodn for that kinda thing... The caption is completely accurate, but the duality of the image (hidden because he's far away, but obvious because he's got a huge honking antenna) make it funny. --Gmaxwell 01:08, 25 April 2006 (UTC)
Yeah. When I saw it, I came to the discussion with the intent to praise the caption. So: I love it. — mæstro t/c, 09:49, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't suppose we could get a picture of the sidewalk markings some wardrivers leave for others to know about the network.Doric Nash 18:48, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

It's a silly picture. Please get something encyclopedic to replace it. — Omegatron 13:44, 22 September 2006 (UTC)


Warbiking redirects to here, but there is a link to it on the page, under "see also." Should either be another article, or at least a mention of Warbiking on this page. zachol 02:19, 23 January 2006 (UTC)

The legality of wardriving in the United States is not clearly defined.

There was a FBI memo saying that simply finding networks isn't illegal, but connecting to them would be anyone know where it went.

A New Hampshire bill which would clarify that the duty to secure the wireless network lies with the network owner has not passed yet, due to concerns that it may create a loophole for criminal activity. The specific laws, in any case, vary from state to state. A wardriving Florida man was arrested and charged with unauthorized access to a computer network, a third-degree felony in the state of Florida. It is important to note here that the crime was gaining unauthorized access to a computer network, not wardriving in particular.

He wasn't wardriving then. He was using someone's network without permission.

Related case[edit]


A Vancouver, Wash. coffee shop tired of seeing a 20-year-old man mooch off their free wireless Internet access called the police, who charged him with "theft of services."

Brewed Awakenings employees dialed 911 after Alexander Eric Smith of Battle Ground, Wash. piggybacked off the shop's wireless Internet service for more than three months.

"He doesn't buy anything," Emily Pranger, the shop's manager, told KATU, a Portland, Ore. television station. "It's not right for him to come and use it."

Smith allegedly parked his truck in the parking lot to use Brewed Awakenings' wireless access.

County deputies charged Smith with theft of services after returning to the parking lot after they told him to stop. The crime, which covers such crimes as bypassing a utility meter, stealing cable, and leaving a restaurant without paying, has been used in the past to prosecute hackers who have accessed a computer or network without paying for it.

What's the Point?[edit]

What's the point of wardriving? I don't understand why people care where WiFi networks are, especially if they don't plan on using them.

Some people just do it for sport/bragging rights, and to see pretty WiGLE graphs - that's why I do it.--Goldfndr 09:55, 5 September 2006 (UTC)
the orriginal point of doing it was so that wireless manufacturers could get an idea of how many were out there, they would collect the numbers and then stock the shops and put on deals to attempt to increase the number, they would then repeat the process.
eventually it got to the point where they didn't need to do it anymore as it is abundantly clear that there are plenty out there and they stopped.
now wardriving is likely to be used as part of a study or by people looking to piggyback on networks at a later point.
--anonymous user-- 08June 2009

UK WT Act[edit]

Is there really a need to have the whole WT Act in there? Or the original analysis? If there's some other place on the web that can be referenced, it'd be good to just link to said reference. I was tempted to trim down the Act to an excerpt, but IANAL.--Goldfndr 09:55, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

Well, the whole WT act is a considerably longer and weightier document. The extract is, however, by and large unaltered from the guidance information referenced on the UK Radio Authority website. I decided to include it with annotations to show how it may apply to the subject of wardriving in the light of the previous correspondent's assertion that prosecutions may be brought in the UK for "use of a computer for a purpose for which one does not have permission". But IANAL either so feel free to get the scissors out. The annotations do not constitute legal advice, but the guidance from OFCOM can be taken to be definitive and I felt it would be clearer to spell out the implications in context. As a complete newbie to contributing to wiki, please accept my apologies if I have infringed any protocol.

Wardriving or piggybacking?[edit]


Should this be split into Wardriving and Piggybacking (Wi-Fi)? — Omegatron 13:47, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

If you're up for writing a main article on Piggybacking and moving content then I say go for it, as a lot of the content in this article is specific to Piggybacking instead of Wardriving.--Goldfndr 01:41, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Wardriving vs. hunting for free hotspots[edit]

This article doesn't clarify whether there is a distinction between "wardriving" and/or "piggybacking" vs. attempting to find or use free hotspots, or how that distinction would be drawn. There are municipal wi-fi networks, free community networks, official free hotspots, and even non-publicized "unofficial hotspots" used to draw business[1]. Common sense suggests there is a difference between driving around a business district looking for a place to stop and check your e-mail vs. lurking in a residential side street sniffing traffic between two computers in a private home, but can you generalize and codify this to cover more ambiguous situations? Does the existing terminology recognize such a distinction? Mike Serfas 05:48, 25 November 2006 (UTC)

Wireless Telegraphy Act[edit]

Is this for the Uk or US? Its not clear in the article. Think outside the box 09:58, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Links considered spam[edit]

I have (re-re-re-re-re) posted an external link to in the maps of wardriving section, which seems to be considered spam. This is not spam -- wifimaps is a web-based map of wardriving data, and should be listed in the section about wardriving maps. Drew from Zhrodague 20:05, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

It is spam because you are attempting to promote your own website. This is not allowed by Wikipedia rules. I have removed all improper external links. Jehochman (talk/contrib) 06:40, 16 April 2007 (UTC)


Given our Czech friend's persistent link spam and refusal to respond to...anything at all, I've applied semi-protection to the article. Maybe he'll finally give up and go away. Or at the very least, try talking. -- Cyrius|

change of piggybacking link[edit]

Suggest changing the piggybacking link to "Piggybacking (internet access)", since the current link points to just piggybacking.

Lars 21:22, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Illegal in UK[edit]

The sentence:

Wardriving is illegal in the United Kingdom through several pieces of legislation, as evidenced by several arrests[1] and one conviction[2].

should be changed; it implies Wardriving is illegal in the UK through the legislation is quotes, and the cases it links to. Those cases all illustrate conviction for piggybacking, not wardriving, for which there has been no UK conviction. Indeed, all the legislation quoted refers to illegally accessing data or programs, or intercepting communciations, neither of which is relevant to Wardriving (understood to mean detecting networks, not breaking into them).

I'm sure that piggybacking is as illegal in the US, and elsewhere, as in the UK. 15:32, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Evidence, please. (talk) 09:21, 7 February 2010 (UTC)
  • I've now cut a lot of the UK legislation stuff; not only was it massively long compared to the other countries described, most of it was irrelevant, by either:
    • not making sense (the part about the WTA)
    • legislating against piggybacking (by referring to, for instance, illegally obtaining data or services).

Yes. Someone had edited the article to say that wardriving is categorically illegal everywhere, which is completely wrong. Even piggybacking is legal in some localities, and questionable everywhere else. I've moved all the stuff about piggybacking into the appropriate article, and tried to clean this one up. — Omegatron 17:17, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

In some countries even listening to a broadcast is illegal, though. In the UK, for example, it is illegal to listen on some radio frequencies or to some transmissions (such as those used by the police or armed forces).

Yet our WarViewing article says "As the video signals are broadcast in a license free ISM band, it is not illegal in the UK to receive them even if they are not intended for you." — Omegatron 16:10, 3 September 2007 (UTC)

Cuts to intro paragraph[edit]

I have deleted a sentence from the initial paragraph of the article. The comparisons to amateur radio, DXing, and radio scanning are misleading and not really accurate as comparisons. Most basically, wardriving is "surfing" in a primparily geographic way, whereas all these comparisons usually involve only the radio spectrum. More specifically, with regard to DXing, people are expecting (usually even hoping) that their signals will be heard and recognized—not always the case with wifi providers. Radio scanners are slightly more like what's being described here (because they share moral/ethical questionability), but the link is still tenuous at best in the context of an encyclopedic introduction to wardriving. Most basically, this provides very little enhanced understanding of the article's topic to people who DO know what ham radio or scanners do, and absolutely none to those who don't. /Ninly (talk) 01:52, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Nintendo Promoting War Driving[edit]

Is it just me or does it sound like Nintendo is promoting war driving with their new handheld system the 3DS.

"The other thing that we're trying to do with the Nintendo 3DS is that even for people who don't have wireless access in their home, our goal is that by carrying the device around with them they'll be able to connect to wireless networks elsewhere. And without even realizing it, they'll notice some kind of change in their game data, or a download containing new information. I think that that kind of surprise element is something that will have a very Nintendo feel to it." - Miyamoto

The referance is

Rob mc 1 (talk) 05:00, 19 June 2010 (UTC)

Broken reference[edit]

Reference 7,, appears to be broken. --Mortense (talk) 10:01, 19 November 2010 (UTC)

See Also[edit] and the Android App MozStumbler. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:35, 17 January 2014 (UTC)