Welcome to Testing Grounds. This website will help you discover new ways of looking at the ordinary things around you. Whether it is a dusty old computer you have in the corner, or a coke machine down the street, Testing Grounds will show you how to do things you didn't think were possible. Enjoy!

What to look forward to:

Coming up on Testing Grounds, I'll show you how to do the following:

How to Install/Reinstall Windows Vista to Improve Performance

How to Backup DVD's: Defeat Any DVD Protection Including Sony and Disney

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The hardware side of protecting yourself from War-Driving

First, let me define what war-driving is. Its where someone drives around and tries to find a Wi-Fi hotspot in a neighborhood, business, park, whatever. They want free Internet access - or if they are a different kind of person, they want to intercept information that could compromise your passwords, online bank accounts, even your identity. There are ways to protect yourself from these people using software that helps to encrypt your traffic. I'm not much of a software guy, so I'll go into the hardware options.

  • Wi-Fi Paint
    • New invention, you can either buy paint, or an additive that you add to latex paint
  • A physical sheet of metal, such as sheet aluminum, aluminum foil, brass screen, or any other metal that can be used as a Faraday cage.
I have no experience with the first option. It seems rather simple, the concept is that it it turns the paint in your home or office into a Faraday cage. If you don't know what that is, check out the Wikipedia article here.

What I do have experience with, is the sheet metal option. If you go to your local hardware store you can find some aluminum flashing. This stuff is awesome. You can make just about anything with it, but it comes in especially handy with this hardware mod. The design I am showing in this post is for one-directional shielding. If you have a road near your house, this is a good thing to have. Or if you suspect a neighbor is dropping in on your wi-fi, use this to block him/her out.


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I think I got it from Home Depot a few years ago, can't remember. Anyway, you need to cut a section about 1.5' by 10" and fold it into thirds, kind of like an open tri-fold board. then trace the bottom of that onto a second piece of aluminum, cut that out, and put that on the bottom like so:

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now, you can do a few different things depending on your resources. You can epoxy the two sheets of metal together, duct tape them, aluminum tape them, or if your like me - do all three. Let's see how that's done shall we?

Glue the bottom:

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Use aluminum tape to tape the sides, this will prevent any excess radiation from leaking through the tiniest of cracks. It is used for the ducts in your house, but i love using it for just about anything.

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Now, the reason for the duct tape. If your actually doing this project, and have it in front of you, you will realize that the edges are insanely sharp. If you have a small child, dog, or pet rodent around, its probably not the safest thing. So you have to idiot proof the thing with even more tape:

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Now its relatively safe.

I've experimented with different positions and the results they give, and found that this configuration with your wireless router is the best:

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Depending on if you have a second story on your house or not, you might not want the top as I have it. If your wondering on what proof I have, here is photographic evidence that you have not just wasted your time, and that in fact, that piece of metal actually does something:

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(This is a hotspot finder available at electronics stores)

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So it looks like it cut it in half. The difference was probably greater, because I live in a suburban neighborhood, I may have been picking up a neighbor's wi-fi and not my own. I like to think this because sitting in my living room on a good day I can find about 5 routers to connect to. Hope you have as much luck as I did.