Warchalking

From Academic Kids

Warchalking symbols (From left to right: Open Node, Closed Node and  node)
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Warchalking symbols (From left to right: Open Node, Closed Node and WEP node)

Warchalking is the drawing of symbols in public places to advertise an open Wi-Fi wireless network.

Inspired by hobo symbols, the warchalking symbols were conceived by a group of friends in June 2002 and publicised by Matt Jones. The word is formed by analogy to wardriving, the practice of driving around an area to detect open Wi-Fi nodes. That term in turn is based on wardialing, the practice of dialing many phone numbers hoping to find a modem. See also demon dialing.

Having found a Wi-Fi node, the warchalker draws a special symbol on a nearby object, such as a wall, the pavement, or a lamp post. Anyone initiated in the ways of warchalking will recognise what it means and get online. In certain cities, the word bellum indicates the presence of an open node. If the node is later protected by some means such as encryption or if the node is no longer existent, the word bellum should be crossed out and replaced with the word pax. These words are Latin for war and peace respectively.

Warchalking has however declined in popularity for a number of reasons. Firstly, pressure from grey legal issues has stopped many potential warchalkers from experimenting with the hobby. Secondly, people and organisations are gradually becoming more aware of the need for wireless network security, reducing the number of unprotected hotspots. Practical problems such as chalk marks being washed off pavements in rain have also hindered the progress of warchalking. Finally, mainstream programmes such as "The WiFi Zone" have superseded warchalking, despite carrying little of the "underground" feel that made warchalking so enjoyable for many.

See also

External links

es:warchalking fi:Warchalking sv:Warchalking it:Warchalking pl:Warchalking

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