News items for tag wardrivingbox - Koos van den Hout

2017-05-10 Changes in the future .. or living in the past 2 weeks ago
Interesting error message today:
Jan  1 01:01:02 ritchie CRON[1834]: pam_unix(cron:account): account koos has password changed in future
But it is caused by the system realtimeclock being completely wrong and assuming the date is 1 January 1990 or something. It probably needs a new battery. Or maybe a whole new system, this is from the system ritchie that started life as the wardriving box which was bought in 2008.

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2013-12-27 (#) 3 years ago
When I get around to wardriving lately I use the wigle app for android, so I decided to repurpose the wardrive box as shednet computer. This will also mean I can stop using PLC network to link the shed computer to the rest of the network, replacing it with wifi. Using PLC offends the radio amateur in me and people at the radio club now ask me whether I dumped it already. So, time for different hardware which as a plus will also use less power.

I already built in a laptop harddisk in the wardrive box and removed the compact flash holding the wardriving box image (I'll save it so I can restart using the wardriving box if needed). The alix 1c can work nicely with an IDE laptop harddisk.
2.5 inch laptop harddisk in ritchie
The laptop harddisk built into the ritchie mini-itx case

The installation will probably be done with a recent debian jessie distribution.

Plans for the new shednet computer include an ntp server, but since the current gps unit (gpskit) seems to fail after running for a few days in the test setup that may have to wait.

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2013-04-10 (#) 4 years ago
Doing some updates on the wardrivingbox for a friend. It would be really nice if that box would be able to sync its results to an usbstick. So I was trying to find the right flags for rsync to copy the results and kept failing.
rsync: mkstemp "/mnt/kismet/.dabox-00:0D:B9:0D:98:50-20061010-1.csv.MK38RC" failed: Invalid argument (22)
and then it dawned on me: filenames with an : in them are invalid in vfat (ms-dos and derived). The filenames are derived from the ethernet address of the wired networkcard in the wardrivingbox. Solution: strip the colons when generating the filename:
LOGNAME=dabox-`/sbin/ifconfig eth0 | /usr/bin/awk ' $4=="HWaddr" { a=$5; gsub(/:/, "", a ); print a } '`
Now filenames are more acceptable to the vfat filesystem on the usbstick.

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2012-08-23 (#) 4 years ago
I used the wardriving box at home after I noticed I hadn't used it at all in over two months. It hung after a while, not responding to network or keypresses but still reporting on ethernet link state changes. I thought the temperature might have something to do with it since the box does get a bit warm and it was in the direct sun.

So I loaded the internal sensor driver w83627hf which is mentioned in the voyage linux getting started page and had a check:
ritchie:/sys/devices/platform/w83627hf.656# cat temp?_input
72 ⁰C seems a bit high, but other reports of measured temperatures list the same values, like this openbsd on the alix1c for dmesg shows.

Later during the day with the wardriving box out of the direct sun it keeps running fine.

With the probable hardware for the weather station computer also being an alix1.d the ideas now include measuring and graphing of all available temperatures, if only to keep an eye on possible stability issues.

Update: 47 new wi-fi networks found without moving the wardrivebox 1 centimetre...

Update 2012-08-24: I wanted to bring the wardriving box on my bike but .. the carrier on the back is slightly broken from earlier wardriving, and there is no place to stick the gps to at the moment.

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2012-05-31 (#) 4 years ago
Today I had a chance to take the wardrivebox out on a trip and I noticed it did not find a lot of networks. On a trip which should give me 1500 or more networks it only saw about 200. So I tried the box at home, and noticed it sees fewer networks than expected, even my laptop wireless utility sees more. It seems the cable to the external antenna is broken, probably near the connector. Using another simple small omni antenna I once bought but never used gives me almost three times as much networks now. Maybe time to rethink the 'big' external antenna.

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2011-09-06 (#) 5 years ago
Doing some updates to the wardriving box documentation because of all the new things I learned while building a wardriving box for a friend. I may put the sources and scripts on-line for others to be able to play with them.

One learns a lot from trying to re-do something!

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2011-08-14 A second wardrivebox build 5 years ago
A friend asked me to help him get his own wardrivingbox going. I had a harder time doing this than expected, so I decided to retrace the steps.

He had installed ubuntu 11.04 on it from usb stick. This wouldn't boot, the grub setup was al wrong. Fixing the grub setup still left it non-booting.

This time I had the Heavy Duty Boot Environment available to help me, since the alix.1c / alix.1d boards are quite capable of PXE booting. This didn't turn everything into a simple install-party as the via_rhine drivers in anything but the most recent linux distro give issues. So the complete pxe load via network works fine but after that the network drivers don't work, making it impossible to do an OS installation which I can reproduce.
Read the rest of A second wardrivebox build

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2011-08-05 (#) 5 years ago
From the latest blackhat conference: Flying Drone Can Crack Wi-Fi Networks, Snoop On Cell Phones - Andy Greenberg - The Firewall - Forbes magazine. A bit of a sensationalist article, but the flying platform makes a lot possible and the described attacks on wifi and GSM are not new.

DIY Spy Drone Sniffs Wi-Fi, Intercepts Phone Calls - Threat level - Wired is less sensationalist and a better description. And the latest is at the Rabbit-Hole - DIY UAVs for Cyber Warfare – Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform where the makers of this plane tell about their progress.

I would not mind having a plane like this flying around with an airborne version of the wardriving box. More a 'warflying box'. There is some mention of running kismet on the W.A.S.P.

For as far as I can find 'serious' model plane flying in the Netherlands requires some training and having a view of the plane, which a drone like the one above doesn't have. If you ask model airplane clubs you have to be a member to be allowed to fly a model airplane at all, but opinions outside those clubs are that light planes are permitted (up to a certain height) with permission of the owner of the land where you take of and land.
Update 2011-08-06: An interesting related story: Murdoch accused of operating illegal US air force with
The Daily may be in breach of FAA regs regarding "operations of unmanned aircraft in the National Airspace System". As Forbes notes, the FAA requires wannabe drone pilots to have an airworthiness certificate for their "Unmanned Aircraft System" (UAS) and an "experimental certificate" which limits them to "research and development, marketing surveys, or crew training".
Reading the referenced article FAA Looks Into News Corp's Daily Drone, Raising Questions About Who Gets To Fly Drones in The U.S. notes the huge difference between hobby and commercial use:
Hobbyists are basically free to use drones as long as they keep them under 400 feet. At this point, civil and commercial use of drones is only allowed for research and development purposes. “Not for compensation or hire” says one FAA notice. To get government permission to use a drone (for non-hobby purposes), a private entity has to jump through hoops including getting an airworthiness certificate — meaning the thing is safe to fly — and an experimental certificate, approving the planned use of the unmanned system (uses are currently limited to research and development, marketing surveys, or crew training).
So Murdoch papers can have wet dreams about using something like the W.A.S.P. for news reporting but will find heavy resistance.

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2011-01-31 (#) 6 years ago
Found via quite other ways, but something to keep in mind when rebuilding the kernel for the wardriving box or building a kernel for the future weather station: Debian on Soekris lists some specific Linux kernel compile settings for Geode processors. Another powersaving option could always be a good idea for both. Although I plan to make the weather station also work as ntp server so any power saving which influences timing is a bad idea.

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2010-08-02 (#) 6 years ago
I wanted to install an extra package on the wardriving box but found out that the choice of distribution: Debian etch is not available anymore, not even as 'oldstable'. A bit of searching finds that I need to look in the Debian distribution archives.

I'm not sure whether I'll keep using Debian versions for the wardrive-box. I want something nice and small and manageable, and the option for a custom kernel (no initrd, preferably no udev).

The interesting bit is that I built the wardriving box in January - February 2008 and it basically ran regularly since that time without software problems.

The extra package I wanted to try is lm_sensors, for the other project: Sundial. I was wondering how high/low the system temperature would get, and whether it would stay within the 0 - 50 ⁰C range. An IP55 rated case might be a good idea for use in the garden shed (which is semi-outdoors). The question is will the mainboard stay above 0 ⁰C when it is -15 ⁰C outside. I know from the wardriving box the Alix board generates some heat, but is it enough to keep itself warm.

The Alix.1c/1d have a temperature sensor, according to Getting started with voyage linux it should work with the w83627hf driver which indeed loads and gives a readout.

I came across the alix.1 series hardware while looking for something low-power for project sundial. Later calculations showed the 'powered by the sun or wind' part of that project would be too expensive compared to just using a plug.

Update: The archived etch works, but lm-sensors wants perl, which is not part of the stripped down debian on the wardrive box. For as far as I can see that is because there is one perl script included. Time to rebuild from source with that script removed.

Update 2010-08-03: Looking where you are going helps too: Voyage Linux is Debian-based but optimized for embedded apps. With debootstrap under Ubuntu or Debian I could set up a newer development environment for the wardrive box and test Voyage Linux.

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2008-04-28 (#) 9 years ago
On Sunday we went on a nice bicycle tour. A bit over 80 kilometers. I brought the wardriving box along and logged the networks found and the gps track. But now I can do something really cool: I can plot the track on a map and put the results on-line thanks to OpenStreetMap. No hassle with 'illegal' map material. This makes this a great moment in open license map data for me. Steps to use an OSM export map in gpsmap (part of kismet). I added the line about the license for the openstreetmap data myself but I can imagine importing data from openstreetmap and correctly naming the source turning into a standard option in gpsmap.

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2008-04-26 (#) 9 years ago
I measured the power usage of the wardriving box. It uses a nice 420 mA. That is very nice, given that the alix.1c board, the wireless card and the gps receiver are all powered from this. In theory, this means the 2.2 Ah battery should be able to power it for over 5 hours.

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2008-04-17 (#) 9 years ago
Wardriving results 28 March - 16 April: 2853 new networks with GPS locations noted at WiGLE. Most amazing was finding 505 new networks without moving the wardriving box one centimeter: the AMD_IBSS networks were showing up again when I had the wardriving box running overnight in the top window.

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2008-03-04 (#) 9 years ago
Wardriving results 24 Februari - 3 March: 4377 new networks with GPS locations. The wardriving box is helping, together with having nice weather and time for long bicycle rides around Utrecht. I passed the 90000 new networks mark at WiGLE and I'm back at position 22 in the WiGLE stats.

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2008-02-25 (#) 9 years ago
Real test of the wardriving box yesterday: I brought it along on my recumbent bike on a 38 kilometer biking trip. With the big antenna on a piece of metal on the rack of the recumbent bicycle. Worked great and found 1354 new networks with GPS locations.

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2008-02-23 (#) 9 years ago
The wardriving box is finished and I have done the first test today. And scored new networks! Between 13 Februari and 23 Februari I found 184 new networks with GPS locations. Of those 108 using the laptop on bicycle, 63 in the first testrun using the wardrivebox on bicycle and 13 from testing the wardrive box at home. Yes, I can still find new networks at home without moving.

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2008-02-18 (#) 9 years ago
I left the wardriving box running overnight to test the stability and heat generation. No problems in those areas. It was on the top floor of the house in the window facing northwest (in the direction of the student flats). A total of 43(!) access-points were seen. Yes, wireless networks are still rising in numbers.

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2008-02-17 (#) 9 years ago
I had some time for work on the wardriving box. I fixed the powerbutton problem by switching to Linux kernel Linux 2.6 has specific support for the geode processor which include acpi support. With 2.6 I get a good power-button event when I press it and on a shutdown with powerdown the alix system is powered down completely (power led goes out). I also worked on the case, making holes for the antenna connectors. I managed to make the right holes and modify the I/O shield without making the wrong holes or get damaged myself. My teacher in metalwork years ago would probably think I'm still bad at it but with a drill and a metal file the modifications got done, including filing the flange of the N-connector to make it fit in the case. Pictures of the results,
Results of the metalwork.
Antenna connectors in place and the I/O shield modified to allow for the big N-connector.
Board installed in the case.
I'm also learning about Linux 2.6: without a keyboard there is not a lot of entropy for /dev/random.

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2008-02-15 (#) 9 years ago
The battery (and the charger) for the wardriver box arrived. Even with the room number and the department missing from the address label the internal mail still managed to deliver it to my desk.

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2008-02-14 (#) 9 years ago
A few minor setbacks on the wardriving box project yesterday evening. Software shutdown via acpid does not work (there is no event when I press the power button). Kernel recompiling for acpi debugging gave me lots of headaches with the module versioning. I did some searching for it and the Linux Loadable Kernel Module HOWTO had the answer:
So it is generally not wise to use symbol versioning
.. words to the wise. And the CF connector of the M200 case is a normal 40 pin IDE connector where I bought a cable for 44pin 2mm ide connectors because the alix.1c mainboard has a 44pin ide header. It would be nice if I could fix this, I could use the external CF-bay of the M200 case which would mean I wouldn't have to open it to change/upgrade the CF. The manual of the M200 case has stern warnings about opening and closing it too often.

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Other webprojects: Camp Wireless, wireless Internet access at campsites, The Virtual Bookcase, book reviews, Weather maps