how to triangulate a mac address
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Thread: how to triangulate a mac address

  1. #1
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    how to triangulate a mac address

    Hi i donít know if this is the right place to post this but here it goes.
    Awhile back i remember having a program that i used on my laptop from years ago that could triangulate where a wireless client was coming from.
    I purposely left open my wireless side just as a test to see how many people would try and use it on my network. I am not worried about then getting to my files etc. i am secure as far as that goes but just would like to see where they are coming from. I have my laptop and would like to take it outside and with me having there Mac and kind of triangulate where Approximately they are coming from.
    Any help would be great thank you/
    Robert

  2. #2
    Super Moderator: GMT Zone nihil's Avatar
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    Well it isn't "triangulation" which is a rather precise science used in navigation, civil engineering, and artillery shoots

    What you were doing was taking a bearing to find the direction, presumably based on signal strength, and then attempting to guess a range? Very imprecise, I would imagine.

    The actual principle has been used by navigation beacons way back to before WWII. You send a narrow beam signal, and your bombers lock onto it to confirm their position and direction.

    I would guess that with some amateur electronics you might be able to put together a rig that would give reasonable data to the analysis program? I read of people making directional antennae from Pringle's cans and the like.

    Your technical problem would be determining the range given the variable power of individuals' equipment?

    Good luck, it is an interesting project.
    Last edited by nihil; March 16th, 2008 at 07:05 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Yes, with a directional antennae you yourself have to find the direction. If you look at the signal strength that would indicate a rough distance.

    If you only have an omni-directional antennae (like most wifi cards do) you need to draw a circle around it. Signal strength should be equivalent to the radius of that circle (stronger incoming signal = smaller radius). That still doesn't tell you where someone is. A second omni-directional antennae somewhere else can pick up the same signal. Where these 2 circles intersect is a possible location. Still leaves you with 2 possibilities so you need a 3rd omni-directional antennae. Where these 3 circles intersect is the location.
    Last edited by SirDice; March 15th, 2008 at 09:59 AM.
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    Right turn Clyde Nokia's Avatar
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    Cisco are about to release an app that does this, but I don't think it will be cheap to implement. You need more than one AP and a layout of the building to include wall thickness, what they're made of etc.

    The application then gets the information from all AP's about how strong your signal is to them, plots this on the map, factors in any walls etc and give you a position that allegedly is accurate to 3 meters.

    I don't think it has been released yet but I could be wrong - last I heard was about 3 months ago and that it was still in development - it was called something like Cisco Location Appliance or something similar - a google will prob throw it up.
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    Thank you for the replies guys i am looking into that now

  6. #6
    Just Another Geek
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    AirDefense already has a Wireless IDS that does all this. Definitely not cheap.

    http://airdefense.net/
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  7. #7
    THE Bastard Sys***** dinowuff's Avatar
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    It seems to me that I've seen either a VISIO or AUTOCad app plugin that did this.

    I'll try to see if I can figure out where I saw it and post the link
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  8. #8
    Master-Jedi-Pimps0r & Moderator thehorse13's Avatar
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    NetStumbler is more than likely what you're talking about. It uses radio signal strength to give you an idea of the position of connected nodes. We used to walk around with this utility to find rogue wireless devices such as printers and such. Another tool that does the same thing as NetStumber (windowz app) is Kismet. Kismet is the linux answer to NetStumbler.

    http://www.netstumbler.com/
    http://www.kismetwireless.net/
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