Apparently wardrivers (people who cruise neighborhoods with a laptop looking for open wireless networks) have been submitting their findings to WiGLE—a searchable database and interactive map of wireless access points.
Already checked—our home network isn’t in there. (As much as I’ve locked it down, it had better not be!) But they do list several in our neighborhood.
As always, the power of the Internet can be used for either good or evil.
(via Aunty Spam’s Net Patrol.)
Via Email Battles: First ‘warspamming’ case reaches court.
Basically the guy (allegedly) drove around LA with a laptop looking for insecure wireless networks, then connected to them and sent spam using people’s home accounts.
The term comes from wardriving — driving around looking for unsecured networks — and warchalking — marking walls or sidewalks to indicate the presence, type and speed of the networks found. Early wardrivers discovered that Pringles cans make good amplifiers.
Further etymology: according to the Jargon File, war-driving is a play on war dialer. War dialers were programs that would call up a series of phone numbers looking for modems, faxes, or other phone-based systems it might be able to crack into. And that term started out as wargames dialer, a reference to the film War Games. (Whew!)
It turns out that warspamming is older than I thought: the term was coined two years ago, though this is the first case to go to trial. The defendant is being tried under CAN-SPAM, which went into effect this past January.
An interesting statement from the article:
If Tombros is convicted or pleads guilty then warspamming — also known as drive-by spamming — will move from being just a theoretical possibility to a genuine threat.
What, so in the two years since someone came up with the idea, no one has ever seen it done? And we have to wait for a conviction to determine whether it’s happened now? We don’t need to wait for a trial to know that spammers — an annoyingly resourceful lot — are using thousands of virus- and spyware-infested home computers as zombies. Warspamming doesn’t even require programming skills (or ties to virus writers — although I understand access to already-compromised networks has become a brisk business on the black market.) Surely someone has logs to show that it’s been done.
Update October 4: The defendant was convicted. Apparently, this is the first conviction obtained under CAN-SPAM. (via The War on Spam)