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Warchalking symbols

Warchalking is the drawing of symbols in public places to advertise an open Wi-Fi network. Inspired by hobo symbols, the warchalking marks were conceived by a group of friends in June 2002 and publicised by Matt Jones who designed the set of icons and produced a downloadable document containing them.[1][2] Within days of Jones publishing a blog entry about warchalking, articles appeared in dozens of publications and stories appeared on several major television news programs around the world.[2]

The word is formed by analogy to wardriving, the practice of driving around an area in a car to detect open Wi-Fi nodes. That term in turn is based on wardialing, the practice of dialing many phone numbers hoping to find a modem.[3]

A warchalking sign on a street in Bamberg, Germany

Having found a Wi-Fi node, the warchalker draws a special symbol on a nearby object, such as a wall, the pavement, or a lamp post.[2] Those offering Wi-Fi service might also draw such a symbol to advertise the availability of their Wi-Fi location, whether commercial or personal.[4]


  1. ^ "Let's Warchalk" (PDF). Matt Jones. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-07-05. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  2. ^ a b c "Chalk points to wireless internet". BBC. 2002-07-22. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  3. ^ "Welcome to the era of drive-by hacking". BBC. 2001-11-06. Retrieved 2008-10-09.
  4. ^ Clyde, Laurel A. (2003). "Wi-fi and Warchalking". Teacher Librarian. 31: 44–46.

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