Wi-Fi Sniffing 101 – Corporations Capturing Wi-Fi Data

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Founder CEO at SMR Hosting LLC
Founder of SMR Hosting. avid privacy buff, volunteer at the Salvation Army, part time gamer and private IT consultant. I enjoy cooking and am an animal lover.

Wi-Fi Sniffing is used to Capture Public Wi-Fi Data

Capturing public Wi-Fi data is one of the many tools criminals use to steal your identity. Normally it can be avoided by browsing from secured wifi hotspots. That is not always the case. If your smartphone's Wi-Fi mode is searching for a signal inside Nordstrom they may use it to track your movements throughout the store.

Image by psd via Flickr

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“You've spent quite some time in the lingerie department, but you haven't even peeked at our display of Bose® 'OE2' Audio Headphones, which were $149.95 but are now ONLY $134.96! Can we talk?” OK, so that's not exactly what Nordstrom says it's planning to do with the information it gleans from tracking customers' movements throughout their stores.

But it certainly could market that aggressively, now that the department store – purveyor of apparel, shoes, jewelry, and the like – has implemented technology to track how much time you spend in specific departments within 17 stores in the US.

Tara Darrow, a company spokeswoman, told CBS DFW that sensors in the stores are collecting information from customers smartphones as those phones automatically scan for WiFi service. More at Nordstrom tracking customer movement via smartphones' WiFi sniffing

Keep in mind that it is their store and they are providing a Wi-Fi signal so they in theory have the right to track your movements inside their store but you really have to wonder what they intend to use this data for.

Google ponies up for capturing Wi-Fi data to the tune of $190,000.

We all remember Google's little Wi-Fi sniffing fiasco of 2008 right? The company that pledges to “Do No Evil” has been fined for doing evil in Germany.

Google not only escaped criminal prosecution in Germany after its Street View cars were found to be capturing private wifi traffic, but it has now pretty much walked away scott-free as the Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information fined it just €145,000 ($190,000). More at Google fined in Germany for illegal wifi sniffing, but it's pocket

Hey Germany, way to hold Google accountable.


If you are using an Android device I found this cool little app that will detect a Wi-Fi attack as soon as it starts to happen. You can have it notify you or even drop the Wi-Fi signal.

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