Defcon 16: Covert Warballooning flight


Since last month, when the Defcon warballooning event was announced, [Rick Hill] finished building his rig and even got FAA approval for the flight. Just when everything seemed set, the Riviera Hotel management decided not to allow the takeoff from their property. So, naturally, [Rick] and his team rented a moving truck and covertly inflated the balloon inside. They launched it in an abandoned parking lot and drove through the Vegas strip. They were surprised to find that about one third of the 370 wireless networks they scanned were unencrypted.

[photo: JoergHL]

[via /.]

Comments

  1. Droose says:

    Nothing like private institutions retracting promises at the last minute. On a side bar, is there more documentation regarding the building of these balloons? May make for an interesting hack-a-day

  2. BLKMGK says:

    Balloon was purchased not built, equipment in an igloo cooler. Rick did NOt “drive” the balloon anywhere. It scanned the terrain and was within range of the strip. the balloon was stationary and anchored when this was done. Cops showed up just after it was pulled down and drove through the lot (lol). Apparently naming this a “warballon” event scared the straights in upper management and they pulled it – event organizers were actually pretty helpful…

  3. threepointone says:

    The only thing is, a heck of a lot of these unsecured wireless networks might be MEANT to be unsecured (i.e. free wifi hotspots, or private wifi hotspots with web login access). I would imagine the 1/3 number is an insane overestimate, given that there’s probably a lot of hotels and other places with free wifi around there.

  4. Noah says:

    I agree with “threepointone”, everyone from safeway to most hotels have web login and I doubt that was taken into account during the acquisition of these statistics.
    1/3 is a ridiculously high number, at least, I would imagine it is.

  5. Almost_There says:

    >Is there more documentation regarding the building of
    >these balloons? May make for an interesting hack-a-day

    See http://www.geocities.com/Almost_There_Weather_Balloon/

    and http://hackedgadgets.com/2008/02/20/almost-there-near-space-project/

    or just Google “Near Space”.

    Good Luck!
    Ken_S.

  6. mark429 says:

    3,4 They might as well be wide open… it takes all of 5 minutes to get past a web login. WPA is a much better solution.

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