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[ISN] Covert operation floats network-sniffing balloon


By Robert McMillan
IDG News Service

Rick Hill won't say where he launched his "wardriving" balloon on 
Friday, but he will tell you that it got a pretty good look at about 370 
wireless networks, while scanning up and down the Las Vegas Strip.

Hidden in the back of a 22 foot (6.7 meters) moving truck, Hill and his 
team of about a dozen volunteers launched the balloon Friday morning, 
sending it 150 feet into the air for about 20 minutes to use special 
antennas and scanning software to scope out the Las Vegas skyline for 
unsecured wireless networks, an activity Hill calls "warballooning."

Hackers have practiced wardriving for years, driving around in cars with 
computers and specialized software that sniffs for networks.

Two years ago Hill set his sights a little higher and fired off a model 
rocket loaded with similar equipment -- and gave a Defcon presentation 
on that project -- but warballooning is something new. In his day job 
Hill is a senior scientist with Tenacity Solutions, a security services 
consultancy in Reston, Virginia, that works with the government.


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