…because it’s really easy to find your location just based on your funny screenshot. Let’s see how and with code samples. To do this, we’re using the wonderful, open wardriving database WiGLE.
Shortly about wardriving and WiGLE
Wardriving simply and shortly describes about driving around in e.g. a car with a GPS receiver and a WIFI capable device, recording WIFI network names and other information about them among GPS coordinates into some sort of database.
WiGLE is simply a cool database with open access to anyone who wishes to look how others have contributed to this databases. It’s also open for contributions.
At the writing moment of this post, there are over 640.54 million WIFI networks stored in the database!
So why was sharing the funny WIFI names dangerous?
If there are ~640 million WIFI networks along with their GPS coordinates shared in some database as said before, and then:
- You share a screenshot from your phone’s WIFI network selection screen (samples from Google Image search below)
- You share the other not-so-funny WIFI names too
Chances are high that:
- The funny WIFI name is actually quite unique combination of letters and numbers and can be found directly or easily from the database
- The other WIFI names (SSIDs) in the screenshot can be used to validate that data since they’re nearby the “funny access point” already
Also, if you don’t want to be found in some database immediately do not use something unique as a name or tell someone to do so.
Example: “WeLikeItWhenYouWatch” with code
Writing this code was really simple. There is no error handling, because it didn’t take much time for me to write this script.
There is one input to the script, and output gives us the following: latitude, longitude, SSID name of the network, country code and a Google Maps link.
There’s of course a sum of the total results. The code doesn’t handle pagination either so there will be max 100 results, but usually these funny names don’t require pagination since they usually create 5-15 matches in 1-5 different countries due their uniqueness.
Basically the script takes the input, and queries the WiGLE API with ‘/api/v2/network/search route and the ssidlike -parameter and gives the output, if there is any:
The ‘WeLikeItWhenYouWatch’ comes from the Google Image search results since it was one of the first results recommended to me and picked randomly since it sounded funny enough for me.
Anyway, that gave me 9 results along coordinates which could be immediately narrowed down to something less in imaginary case where you know details about the owner of the WIFI base station like their country or city revealing even more accurate insights about this location.
To run this, you require only standard installation of python3 without any special libraries. Don’t do anything stupid with this and even if you do, it’s under your own responsibility as always.
Steps to reproduce
- Get some funny wifi names and other data about person X!
- Sign up to WiGLE to use the API and read some docs: https://api.wigle.net/swagger#/Network_search_and_information_tools/search_2
- Use your own imagination or improve my code below:
Fun facts about the networks
The WiGLE API is able to find:
- 7632 matches for networks with word ‘NSA’ in them
- 1294 matches for networks with word ‘fsb’ in them
- 344 matches for networks with word ‘mossad’ in them