One of the topics discussed in class today was the term "War Driving". War driving is a term used to describe hackers who are on the move, using a computer with a modified wireless adapter that has wider range. Sometimes they will even modify a computers built in adapter by adding an antenna that can increase the range. Hackers will drive around in a vehicle looking for hot spots or open wireless networks in neighborhoods and other heavily populated areas.
The question is, why do they do this? The answer is quite simple, yet scary. When a hacker finds an open unprotected network, they connect to that network and begin to transfer data from other computers connected to that network. Anything that is sent over the internet, whether it is encrypted or not, can be apprehended and decoded by the hacker. They can obtain information about someone's email passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and anything else that you send into cyber space.
The funny thing is that I had already discover this technique on my own a few years ago. Of course I didn't use it to steal anyone's identity or money. I had a more innocent motive. My band was in an online battle that required a large number of votes in order to win an amazing opportunity to play in front of thousands. Because the online voting logged your IP address, voting was limited and we could not vote for ourselves over and over. I came up with the idea to drive through neighborhoods and connect to other people's unprotected wifi's in order to vote on their IP address. The process was genius and our band ended up winning first place in the battle. I knew this was cheating and I knew it was wrong but I figured any of the other bands in the contest could have thought of this same technique and used it. I was the only one clever enough to think of it and actually do it, without even this is done by hackers every day and is called "War Driving".