(also war chalking)
Warchalking is the drawing of chalk symbols in public places to indicate free Wi-Fi hotspots. Wi-Fi enthusiasts practice warchalking in rural and urban areas and usually draw warchalking symbols on objects near the Wi-Fi hotspot, like sidewalks, walls, or lamp posts. However, the markings may advertise unintentionally open Wi-Fi networks, posing security threats to those who may have accidentally left their network unsecured.
How warchalking works
- A Wi-Fi enthusiast travels around looking for a Wi-Fi network node.
- They find an access point location and determine whether it can be accessed or not.
- They draw a symbol on a nearby object to relay information about the access point (e.g., whether it’s open or closed or what type of password it uses).
Four basic warchalking elements
- Two back-to-back semicircles: This symbol indicates the presence of an open network node or access point.
- Closed circle: This symbol refers to a closed network node.
- A “W” inside a circle: This mark means the network node uses a Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) password.
- Two small circles connected to a big circle with the letter “M” inside: This symbol indicates that the access point uses a mesh connection.