Warchalking

The act of making chalk marks on outdoor surfaces (walls, sidewalks, buildings, sign posts, trees) to indicate the existence of an open wireless network connection, usually offering an Internet connection so that others can benefit from the free wireless access. The open connections typically come from the access points of wireless networks located within buildings to serve enterprises. The chalk symbols indicate the type of access point that is available at that specific spot.

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.

Webopedia Staff
Webopedia Staff
Since 1995, more than 100 tech experts and researchers have kept Webopedia’s definitions, articles, and study guides up to date. For more information on current editorial staff, please visit our About page.

Related Articles

Human Resources Management System

A Human Resources Management System (HRMS) is a software application that supports many functions of a company's Human Resources department, including benefits administration, payroll,...

How To Defend Yourself Against Identity Theft

Almost every worldwide government agency responsible for identity theft issues will tell you the same thing: The first step to fighting identity theft is...

Infographic

An infographic is a visual representation of information or data. It combines the words information and graphic and includes a collection of imagery, charts,...

Phishing

What is phishing? Phishing is a type of cybercrime in which victims are contacted by email, telephone, or text message by an attacker posing as...

ScalaHosting

ScalaHosting is a leading managed hosting provider that offers secure, scalable, and affordable...

HRIS

Human resources information system (HRIS) solutions help businesses manage multiple facets of their...

Best Managed Service Providers...

In today's business world, managed services are more critical than ever. They can...