Wireless war rocketing?

There were several articles about a new “wardriving” technique that was talked about at Defcon (this topic and a bit more Defcon coverage here). In fact, this takes the driving out of the mix and involves launching a rocket. Essentially rockets were equiped with access points and launched to get a 6000+ foot view (for the largest) of the wireless landscape. Now, they didn’t turn up a LOT, but they did see an impressive range of area *(50 square miles for the largest). One of the smaller rockets made it to 2000 feet. It was a rural area where this was done, so they didn’t pick up much. Although it had a range of 4 miles, the big rocket could only find 2 networks.

The smaller ones were more successful finding 3 and then 7 access points (7 being in a less rural area.) The big one required FAA approval. The rockets cost less than $1000 to build and the large one takes $200 for each launch $35 for the small rocket launches. It’s not clear if there was any permit fee included (I don’t know much about the FAA rocket launch approval process – although FAA approval is required for over 2000 feet according to the Washington Post- security fix.)

The access points descended with parachutes although I didn’t see how long they had good coverage. I guess the moral to this is not to think you can run an open wireless network out in the country. If someone on the next farm shoots up a rocket every day they may be trying to borrow your network connection. (?!?!)

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