Much of the Male' populace goes out in the streets on vehicles as the time approaches midnight. This occurs without fail every night, much similar to the night creatures that crawl out when the sun drops and the moon rises. Now, this may happen for a variety of reasons but I am not going onto a discourse on the wierd lives led by Male' residents; not this time anyway.

Anyway, tonight I too came out of my shell and roamed the streets of Male' on the back of a motorbike with my kid brother in the driving seat. On the backseat, yes, because I had decided to take the risk of looking totally ridiculous carrying a laptop and an antenna which was hooked onto my 802.11 b/g card. It wasn't the least bit easy feat to pull off, especially when I had to carry the laptop on my lap and the antenna with one of my hands with the rest of the useless gear inside my laptop backpack strapped onto my back!

Yes. This is what you call wardriving, or maybe warriding in this case. I chose not to go in a car because while I could have been sitting much more comfortably inside a car, the narrow, crowded streets of Male' ain't too welcoming to a wardriver driving at 15mph. Additionally, I was using a Cantenna as my antenna which happens to be directional thus limiting angles and maneouvarability inside a car.

The Gear:
+ Laptop with MS Windows 2003 Server.
+ ORiNOCO Gold 802.11 b/g PCMCIA card.
+ 12 dBi commercial Cantenna.
+ NetStumbler 0.40

While I did not cover the entire island, I presume I did cover much of the business and government office areas. We went once around Male' - starting the scan near the Maldives Ports Authority, travelling on Boduthakurufaanu Magu till Lonuziyaaraiy "kolhu" and then travelling down Ameenee Magu uptil the turfed football field at "ohggaa" stadium where we made little detours to cover Kalhuthuhkalaa Koshi and the new Faculty of Health Sciences building and SHE building, then continuing on Boduthakurufaanu Magu going past Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Maldives Centre for Social Education and ending near the new STO building. The scan continued till I reached home.

The little trip picked up 73 Access Points and 4 Peer-to-Peer networks. Of this total, half of them had encryption off! Majority of the networks seemed to be "b" networks and the prevailing brand of APs happen to D-Link. There were 11 APs with the default SSIDs. Most of the WIFI networks bore the name of the office or home it belonged to, thus making it easily identifiable.

Looking at the results, it is good to see that atleast half of the networks are protected by some form of encryption. The fewer number of SSIDs with default names suggest that in most cases someone atleast took to the task of properly setting up the WIFI network. How secure these networks really are, however, remains to be tested. I intend to do a more thorough wifi investigation around Male' soon, with Kismet (under Linux) and an omni directional antenna. Check here laters for updates on that.

By the way, here is the NetStumbler file generated by this wardriving session.