How Thieves Can Target High End Devices Using Wifi Signals

How Thieves Can Target High-End Devices Using Wifi Signals


HackingVision does not condone illegal use of this software nor does it promote illegal use of this the software mentioned within this article. The content is provided only as a convenience to the educational and security community.

It seems thieves can be anywhere looking for the opportunity to steal your goods a lot of thieves will target high-end Smart Phones and wireless devices.

Many users have asked me why not just get a smart phone blocked if its stolen ?. Quite often they are blocked, however a loophole allows thieves to ship stolen phones to regions where the devices would be fully functional and not compliant to the restriction placed by the mobile service provider.

Unfortunately, to catch thieves in this digital era we must play a bit of Cat & Mouse and use the very methods they use against them. Let’s assume we are in an area that has a high theft rate, 90% of thefts in the area were all related to wireless technologies, high-end Smartphones & Smart TVs. One could then create a Wireless Mapping of all clients and access points in range finding there SSIDs and other sensitive information such as PNl & PNL lists (Preferred Network List).

Information preferred network lists allow wireless devices to send PNL requests to check if a network is available. We could then start looking for stolen devices probing for SSID to connect back, this in turn allows law enforcement to track down stolen devices that are still looking for a Wireless Signal to connect with. The very same methods could also allow thieves to target high-end devices Such as Smart TVs, Phones, Gaming Consoles and many other expensive Wireless Devices.

Wireless Wardriving

What is Wardriving? Wardriving is a technique used to detect and map Wireless networks in a moving vehicle by using a laptop or smartphone.

Wikipedia – “Wardriving is the act of searching for Wi-Fi wireless networks by a person in a moving vehicle, using a laptop or smartphone. Software for wardriving is freely available on the Internet.”

Warbiking or Warcycling is similar to Wardriving, but is done from a moving bicycle or motorcycle. This practice is sometimes facilitated by mounting a Wi-Fi enabled device on the vehicle. Warwalking, or Warjogging, is similar to Wardriving, but is done on foot rather than from a moving vehicle.

So, let’s begin, today we will be looking at how thieves & cyber criminals can target high-end devices using WiFi signals. While searching for Wireless Testing Tools on Google Play Store, I came across an App called “Wiggle Wi-Fi Wardriving,” which is used to map wireless devices within a certain radius and log them to a online database. Details then would be uploaded to a database online by standard, the application does scan for probes and various clients so I turned the option from the settings.

I was ready to create a full map of my village. Why did I want to map my full village ? I have done a study on WPS pixie dust attacks a while back, I noticed many D-Link router vulnerable to Pixie Dust WPS after the company in question got a lot of exposure, they then reclaimed a lot of routers but not all of them. So I continued my case study, a couple of years had passed since this attack was causing havoc. I wanted to see how many people out of 1000 routers belonging to the brand D-Link distributed by TalkTalk are still using old hardware.

You can read more on our findings on D-Link TalkTalk routers here this will help you understand why wireless war driving can also be useful in some cases.

So we then went to a fairly popular area to conduct our test we scanned 1000 Access Points excluding clients and out of 1000, 250 of which were still using older vulnerable D-Link routers and 25 percent of clients could still be exposed to these threats. Anyways it got me thinking I will do a second mapping, this time including Wi-Fi clients.

Wiggle uses Wi-Fi in combination with GPS and a Google Mapping system to view the location of various Wireless Access Points and Wireless Clients, it can also pinpoint the distance of the device by calculating the Power of the target Wireless Devices in correspondence with the Attackers GPS location.

I began to walk around noticing various Wireless Clients showing up and being mapped out to a interactive mapping system similar to the type of interactive maps you might see on a SatNav or GPS application,  it then in turn allowed me to walk around mapping Wireless Devices to the database, I started noticing hi-end devices such as Samsung Galaxy S8, Sony Playstation PS4, Xbox One and various other High End devices including smart TV’s and Gaming Consoles.

Not only could I see the Geo-location of the devices, I could also use a super accurate prediction of whereabouts of the devices, in question this then let me predict what rooms or whereabouts in the houses the device where hidden or kept. I then thought, let’s assume this Application was to fall into the wrong hands it could allow thieves to potentially predict about house’s best and most expensive goods.

So, here are the two scenario’s which could be possible.

Scenario 1 (Victims point of view)

None of the characters portrayed in this small scenario are real and are only based on fiction.

  1. Bob is TVs original owner Jimmy is a thief who targets high-end wireless devices.
  2. Bob owns a Smart TV
  3. Jimmy does not own a Smart TV
  4. Jimmy Steals Bobs Smart TV while he’s out, leaving Bob with no TV.
  5. Bob knows Jimmy is a suspect he just does not have any evidence to hold Jimmy accountable.
  6. Bob now installed a popular Wardriving application.
  7. Unfortunately to Jimmy, Bob is using Wardriving software which allows Bob to map various SSIDs and wireless clients to an interactive Google mapping interface, Bob can also check for PNLs that are looking to connect back with Bobs original home wireless access point (Home Router) ,although Bob’s TV was connected to a new Wi-Fi source it is still looking for historical instances of various SSIDs which Bob has connected with in the past such as his home router.
  8. Bob tells Jimmy look I’ve been monitoring Wi-Fi signals that TV has been or is close to your home. Jimmy denies this and tells Bob, “no this is a present from my wife”.
  9. Bob could tell Jimmy I have a mapping of my devices in a database and my device on the map has moved to your geo location from mine and then, in turn, have evidence to do something about it.
  10. Jimmy can’t take the pressure of becoming jail bait as he already been to juvie 10 times the game is over, Jimmy hands Bob his TV back. Bobs quick thinking paid off in the end.

The scenario above indicates how a thieve could be caught using Wifi Wardriving. Let’s assume it fell into the wrong hand such as thieves and other online cyber criminals it would essentially allow them to Geo-locate the most expensive goods. They could potentially know the device you’re holding or have in your pocket without even looking at it.

Android Application is widely available via Google PlayStore the app was never intended to be abused in this manner it was merely created to map locations of Wireless SSID to the database. This database allows Wireless Testers to map and analyze Wireless Access Points online.

Now, let’s have a look at the second scenario.

Scenario 2 (Thiefs’ point of view)

None of the characters portrayed in this small scenario are real and are only based on fiction.

Jimmy is a pickpocket and opportunist looking to steal goods specifically Smart phones.

1. Jimmy is a pickpocket he regularly gets lower end devices.
2. Jimmy does not want lower end devices.
3. Jimmy uses various applications from his smartphone to perform a Wireless Wardrive in turn allowing Jimmy to Geo-locate devices that have Wireless enabled and pin them to a interactive map within Wardriving software.
4. This means Jimmy can accurately predict exactly where a wireless device might be.
5. Jimmy can then take his pick from many High end devices making his job 10x easier.

This article is not here to teach you how to steal its here as a convenience to the educational and security community if you are using this article for illegal purpose please leave now !.

There are many Wireless Wardriving Applications for both Android and Desktop. In this article I will list an example of a popular Wi-Fi Wardriving application for Android.

Wiggle Wi-Fi Wardriving


Image Shows Wiggle Wardrive Application Mapping our Wireless Access Points and Clients to a map.
Image Shows Wireless War Driving database and online Maps.
Image Shows Route of Warwalk, Wardrive in Wiggle Application

Wiggle is an open-source wardriving app to netstumble, display and map found wireless networks and cell towers anywhere in the world, easily uploading to the database. WiGLE was started in 2001 and now has over 250 million wifi networks worldwide.

Conclusion & Prevention

  • Turn Wireless Devices off when not in use.
  • Secure wireless devices with a password
  • Secure wireless devices with an Anti-Theft Prevention App such as FindMyiPhone or Prey for Android, Google Device Manager or similar service.
  • If router accepts AP isolation, Wireless isolation consider enabling it
Spread the love

Subscribe to our newsletter!

yoast seo premium free