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Warzapping[1] is the act of searching for remote disable features in electronics or computing devices, generally while in motion, using a portable computer or PDA.


Warzapping was named after the term wardialing from the 1983 film WarGames, which involved searching for computer systems with software that dialed numbers sequentially to see which ones were connected to a fax machine or computer.

Legal and ethical considerations[edit]

Devices such as laptops[2] have begun to ship with features that allow them to be rendered unusable and data to be deleted. If a disabling device were activated in an unauthorized manner, the consequences for the victim could be severe, including economic losses, loss of personally important data such as medical records or family photos. Some vehicles also include such systems,[3] and unauthorized shutdowns could leave someone stranded without supplies, strand children waiting to be picked up from an activity, prevent someone from getting to or performing work, or prevent someone from being transported for medical treatment. In many jurisdictions criminal or civil legal action could be taken against the perpetrator for computer trespass or trespass to chattels, in addition to claims or charges relating to any negative consequences. Laws concerning denial-of-service attack or other types of cybercrime might also apply.

At this point,[when?] unlike Wardriving no software or techniques are publicly available to enable Warzapping by casual computer users. It is predicted[by whom?] that, with the rise in popularity of remote disabling devices, such software will soon become available.