There are three basic designs that are currently used: a pair of back-to-back semicircles, which denotes an open node; a closed circle, which denotes a closed node; a closed circle with a "W" inside, which denotes a node equipped with WEP. Warchalkers also draw identifiers above the symbols to indicate the password that can be used to access the node, which can easily be obtained with sniffer software.
As a recent development, the debate over the legality of warchalking is still going on.
The practice stems from the U.S. Depression-era culture of wandering hobos who would make marks outside of homes to indicate to other wanderers whether the home was receptive to drifters or was inhospitable.
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