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Computer System

The foundation of every wardriving rig is a computer system. Most wardrivers choose to use either a laptop or PDA since these devices are relatively light and portable and they may function on batteries if necessary. A simple power inverter may be used with the cigarette lighter adaptor found in most vehicles to provide power for the entire rig.

The selection of a laptop or PDA will affect your available scanning software options. An x86-based laptop may utilize software on several Linux and Windows operating systems. A PowerPC-based laptop will be able to utilize software on Mac OS X or Yellow Dog Linux. With a Pocket PC PDA, one would be restricted to software that runs on FamiliareLiniux or Microsoft Pocket PC,Fwhile Palm OS devices do9not have any relevant software available for wardriving at the moment.

Wireless Card

The next necessary component of a wardriving rig is a wireless LAN card. The most important specification of a wireless LAN card is the chipset that the wireless card contains. Three major chipsets are used in 802.11b wireless LAN cards that support wardriving (Johanson, p.2):

Another characteristic to note about wireless LAN cards is whether or not they have an external antenna connector. According to the Seattle Wireless web page, “the external antenna connection is great for if/when you finally breakdown and admit you need/want one” (Johanson, p.11). Most Hermes based wireless LAN cards have an external antenna connector and most of the time the antenna connector is not advertised. In several cases, it has been found that the external antenna connector of Hermes based cards are plugged with an easily removable piece of plastic.

© SANS Institute 2002, A thor retains full rights.

When obtaining a wireless LAN card, you must note what chipset it contains because some software programs will only function with one type of 802.11b chipset.




Lucent, Dell, IBM, Sony


Cisco NOTE: This table may not represent a complete list of vendors.


Intel, Linksys, NetGear, Proxim, SMC, UsRobtics, Zoom

Key ingerprint = AF19 FA27 2F94 998D FDB5 DE3D F8B5 06E4 A169 4E46 It proves to be difficult to find a Prism based wireless LAN card with an external antenna

connector. Unlike Hermes based cards, if a Prism card does not advertise an external antenna connector, it most likely does not have one. Therefore, it is wise to seek a Prism card that actually advertises an external antenna connector.

© SANS Institute 2002,

As part of the Information Security Reading Room.

Author retains full rights.

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