Sunday, January 10, 2010

iPhone Wardriving Just Got Better

Last week I was lucky enough to recieve a blog post comment making me aware of a new iPhone wardriving app. I did a bit of online research then went straight to the app store to download Wifi-Where to take a look for myself.

Wifi-Where was very reasonable priced at £1.79 and after using it once I can say that I really think it's worth the price, if not more. This is certainly the best app I have found for wardriving and here is why.

Wifi-Where has the following features in version 1.0:

  • Easy to use interface
  • Continuous scanning mode
  • GPS Logging (when device supports it)
  • Save hotspots for later
  • Email scan results
  • Email attachments (OS 3.0 Only) in Net Stumbler .ns1, CSV, or Google Earth KML formats
  • Option to ignore secure networks
  • Option to ignore hidden networks
  • Option to sort by signal strength
  • Option to automatically save new networks
  • Option to beep & vibrate on discovery of new network (when device supports it)
  • Option to filter hotspots by signal strength and location accuracy
  • Displays detailed information about each network, including name/SSID, signal strength, raw RSSI value, security & authentication modes (WEP/WPA/WPA2), location, MAC address
  • Connect to hotspots
  • Save passwords for secure networks
  • Upload hotspots to popular wardriving website wigle.net

With the UK being hit by quite bad snow at the moment it has made for excelent wardriving weather. I can pretty much drive anywhere nice and slow taking in all the access points and nobody bats an eyelid.

Now although Wifi-Where has all the features you'd expect in a decent wifi scanner, what really sets it aside as the tool to use for wardriving is the developers have really thought about a few things, such as AP's ( I use the terms AP and access point interchangeably throughout this post) are not discarded as they drop out of range as is the case in many other wifi scanning apps. AP's within range are shown in bold and open access points are shown with a different icon and colour than secured AP's.



Filters can be applied to ignore secure, ad-hoc or hidden AP's and the filters can be applied to show discovered access points depending on strength and location accuracy.



Other features that make this my wardriving app of choice is during a scan all areas of the screen are disabled except for a small stop button in the corner. This is great as the phone will keep scanning if I accidentally touch the screen. Even more useful I can put my phone in my pocket as I scan without worrying about knocking the screen.

The features are very well documented in the app itself and can be easily viewed by select the info icon in the top right on the screen.



Other features such as locking the UI and beep or vibrate on discovery are easily configurable.



The export capabilities in Wifi-Where are just as configurable with a selection of different attachment types available to include as email attachments so scans can be easily imported into either Netstumbler, Google Earth or directly to the popular wardriving site Wigle.net.



Following a scan and prior to an export Wifi-Where displays a useful summary from the captured data detailing the number of hotspots, those that were open, secure, hidden or ad-hoc.



Wifi-Where also exports out to a csv which is really useful for keeping logs of a particular scanning session.


I have only one criticism of Wifi-Where, after a scan if you apply a filter it seems to delete everything but what you are filtering on. I would like to see either a warning that data is being deleted or see the preferably see the filters applied and removed without actually removing data.


The following are features I would like to see in future updates:
  • A countdown timer applied to scans. This would be useful to prevent the battery completely depleting during a scan.
  • Having a swipe to delete function on individual access points would be nice.
  • Additional filters on encrypted AP's would be useful, such as listing all AP's using WEP. Combining filters such as WEP and no encryption would also be handy.
  • The only feature I have seen in another App which I would like to see here would be the radar view as implimented in WiFifoFum. Wifi-Where could improve on this by allowing filters to be applied and then switching to radar view to let the user home in on a particular AP. Along with this could be graphing screen that allows the user to select a range of AP's and see graphs of the signal strength as you move around. This would useful when siting access points.
  • It would be great to have the ability to run the app in a GPS only mode and log routes to a .kml file for later import into Google Earth. This would effectively double up the program as a GPS tracker and if this was done without the wifi card being enabled it would save valuable battery life. Then again this feature could be fleshed out enough to be an app in it's own right.

All in all my opinion is that Wifi-Where is the best iPhone wardriving app for non jailbroken iPhones. If you only want the one wifi scanning app on the iPhone I suggest Wifi-Where is the one to purchase.

9 comments:

ipolar said...

Interesting, I've been using WiFiFoFum which seems a very polished app and has most, but not all, of the features from Wifi-Where. I'll be giving Wifi-Where a go i think!

Does anyone have any good jailbroken Wifi scanning apps?

SynJunkie said...

I was a big WiFiFoFum fan as well but this app just seems to be better thought out. It's great to have the choice, and it's always good to validate your findings with more than one app.

As for jailbroken iPhones, i have read that kismet was ported.

Anonymous said...

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SynJunkie said...

Cool.

Anonymous said...

Excellent

alex said...

SynJunkie, your article just made me buy my first appstore app. :) tried it out, and works perfect. thanks for sharing this info.

SynJunkie said...

Hey thats great Alex, this is certainly one app that i was happy to pay for. Happy wardriving ;-)

Parallax said...

Sorry to say that in searching for something instead of WiFiFoFum I came to this article - only to find that WiFi-Where is no longer on the AppStore!

Nick Knight said...

WIFI-Where is available in the UK iPhone app store, it's also available on Installous if you're into that.