Last Updated: July 17, 2012

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Definition - What does Warchalking mean?

Warchalking refers to drawing symbols in public spaces to denote an open Wi-Fi wireless network in a public space.

Warchalking provides information about the type of wireless connection being used, which may be open node, closed node or wired equivalent privacy (WEP) node. This may attract hackers and make them aware of the Wi-Fi hot spot and its security. Hackers may use this information to attack the Wi-Fi network.

Techopedia explains Warchalking

After finding a Wi-Fi node, warchalkers use a piece of chalk to draw symbols on walls, lamp posts, pavement or anything nearby to advertise the availability of Wi-Fi. Influenced by old hobo symbols, warchalking was initially invented by a group of friends in 2002.

Later, warchalking was more formally identified by Matt Jones, who designed the set of icons. Jones actually published a downloadable version of the icons, which was distributed by the media. Countless articles about warchalking were published. Soon, malicious warchalking alerts became nearly obsolete, or at least their mention on the Internet became obsolete. However, today some merchants with Wi-Fi capabilities may use the icons to advertise the available options for their customers.

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