Wardriving with Kismet Newcore and BackTrack 4

So BT4 Pre-Release has been available for a few weeks now, and this has Kismet Newcore.
Kismet is a brilliant tool for wireless detection, sniffing and more. The new Kismet has an improved interface, and also built in GPS goodness

As I blogged earlier I recently got a new GPS module, and my new 9dbi omni magnetic antenna has arrived, so no more excuses, time to set it up and have a go.

First off here is the setup I am using:

Acer Aspire One – 8GB SSD, 1.5GB Ram
2GB Cruzer USB Drive – Running BT4 Pre-Release
Alpha AWUS036H
BU-353 GPS Receiver
9dBi Magmount Omni Atenna
Maplin External Battery Power

So here we go with the steps needed to make this happen. (I found a helpful post on remote exploit that had alot of the code needed)

First off we boot up BackTrack 4. I have the USB wireless and gps modules already plugged in, but I dont think this is essential.
Once we are all booted and logged in we need to open a terminal window.
From here we need to get the GPS module assigned and activated.

gpsd -N -n -D 3 /dev/ttyUSB0

GPSD is a service daemon that can monitor the GPS module. -N ensure you can see whats going on. -n ensures polling continues regardless of client connections. -D 3 sets the debug level to show you wants happening, and so you can spot errors. /dev/ttyUSB0 is the standard device reference for the USB GPS.


Next we open up another terminal window and fire up Kismet. I have not modified any of the configuration files, so this is all standard out of the box.
We are prompted to autostart the server, select OK for this and no options, and start.
I then close the console window.
If not already connected, I goto the Kismet menu, and select connect, and connect to the localhost Kismet server.
My Wireless adapter is not on wifi0, so I need to Add a Source, again from the Kismet menu. My interface is wlan0. I add this and we are not seeing activity.

Now the easy bit, go for a drive and map those network devices 🙂


On your return we can now shutdown Kismet and GPSD.

Now if we go to our desktop, we will see a few Kismet Output files. The one we are looking for is the one with the .netxml file extension. (I have renamed mine to text.netxml to same me some time.

Now we open a terminal windows and we need to get giskismet to work its magic.

giskismet -x wardrive.netxml
giskismet -q “select * from wireless” -o output.kml

GISKISMET is a tool that can take the data gathered from Kismet, and make visual results. -x tells the application to gather the data from the defined .netxml file and pops it into a Db. -q defines the sql query to extract the information in quotes from the Db. -0 defines the output file name and extension. .kml is the file extension we can use to view the results in Google Earth and Google Maps.

If you dont want to do this manually you can use the script that vvpalin put together, and I have hosted here for easy access.

Once the files have been created you have two options. If you want to view them in Google Earth, simply fire up Google Earth and open the .kml file. If you want to view them with Google Maps, you need to upload the file somewhere and then search the hosted file location with Google Maps.

Its impressive how this all works so easily out of the box really, excellent job once again by the Remote Exploit Team, and the application developers that make these amazing tools available for our use.
*Please excuse the reflection in the images above 🙂

Here are some Google Earth and Maps examples from my quick testing of the new kit.




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27 Responses to “Wardriving with Kismet Newcore and BackTrack 4”

  1. […] Original post:  Wardriving with Kismet Newcore and BackTrack 4 | Security Active Blog […]

  2. […] By Andrew Waite This post should be short and sweet as Dale beat me to the punch with an excellent write up of wardriving with BT4. Thanks to some back and forth advice, Dale’s hardware setup is also […]

  3. Vinoth says:

    Hey very useful post. 10/10 for your step by step clear explanation 🙂

  4. kevin says:

    thanks for the info..by the way you can use ksnapshot of backtrack to take snapshot..

  5. tenatious says:

    Best guide Ive seen to date. Now to find something that improves the accuracy for the mapping like gpsdrive used to. Though with newcore who knows it may be more accurate than before I still need more testing. Great job!

  6. Sidney says:

    Hi Dale, thanks for such a clear tutorial. I have some questions about your setup.

    1. What do you use the Antenna for?
    2. How does it fit into the setup in the photograph

    Thanks in Advance,


  7. Dale says:


    the antenna is used to pick up the wireless networks. You can obviously use your laptops internal antenna, but an external magmount will give better results.
    The pic in the photo shows all the kit I am using when wardriving.

    Hope this helps.

  8. Nathan says:

    Hi Guys – its a real day one thing for me here, i like the tut. above but how do install my built in wifi adapter please ? and how do i insert the symbol ¬ ` (no the straight up one) – i know real pleb question, but as i say its day one and lots of new commands to try out.
    appreciate any tips or installing hardware device tuts. cheer, Nathan.

  9. foo bar says:


    I really like the look of that antenna. Do you mind saying here you got it from?

    Thank you in advance!

  10. Dale says:

    No problem, but not much help really.
    If I remember correctly I got it from a German company on ebay, same with the GPS unit.

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  12. chrisj says:

    Thanks for this Dale, I was looking for a usb gps that would work with Kismet and BackTrack4.

  13. James Bond says:

    Best regards Dale;
    you know I followed your tutorial step by step and it is great but when I get to write the output file….. I get lost can you please tell me exactly what I need to replace in order to make it work, I’ve got signal and I get the files from kismet but here is what the result is, I know there is something wrong with what I’m typing but can’t determine what is it.

    pls help

    thank you

    root@bt:~# giskismet -q text.netxml -o output.kml
    Can’t use an undefined value as an ARRAY reference at /usr/bin/giskismet line 932.

  14. Dale says:

    Looks like you are getting the two commands mixed up. Complete the -x command first on the .netxml file, then do the conversion and read out command to the .kml

    giskismet -x wardrive.netxml
    giskismet -q “select * from wireless” -o output.kml

  15. matt says:

    where is google earth located in BT4 or do you have to download it, or switch to windows os

  16. Dale says:

    You will need to download the Linux version if you want Google Earth.
    Alternatively just use Google Maps online.

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  18. Marcus says:

    This is an interesting article that goes straight to the point, kudos!
    One question though, just because I’m curious, what do you use the Maplin External Battery for?
    I figure laptop with toys hook into car 12v outlet, so nothing should need another power source, or is it for more mobile excursions?

  19. Dale says:

    The maplin battery pack is just so I can extend the uptime of the netbook. Just means I have twice as much power for when I am out and about.

  20. Joel says:

    Anyone have a link to the 9dBi Magmount Omni Atenna that will fit that GPS.. Just ordered the GPS and want to make sure I get the right antenna..

  21. Dale says:


    sorry I should have put in my post. You dont need anything fancy, just get something off ebay. Just search for Magmount Omni Antenna.

    Here is a perfect example of how cheap you can get them – http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/12-dBi-Magmount-Wi-Fi-Omni-Directional-Antenna-wifi-/120665198947?pt=UK_Computing_Networking_SM&hash=item1c1834d163

  22. Nu773r says:

    In kismet i still get GS Not Connected even after firing up GPSD and getting continuous results.

    any ideas?

  23. Moz says:


    Great tutorial. One question regarding the antenna. You mentioned this:


    I already have this but I’m not exactly impressed. I still can’t connect to nearby networks.


    I realise there is a 2dBi difference but would this really matter? Or perhaps the Magmount is just of generally better quality?

    Based on your experience would you say the Magmount is better than the Maplin’s antenna?


  24. Dale says:

    You shouldn’t notice much difference either way. I prefer the mag mount option only because its useful when in the car.

    Happy War Driving.

  25. MP says:

    Using the internal wifi card and antenna of the laptop will give a more correct view of the AP’s on the maps.
    Too strong antenna will show AP’s that are very far away as being closer.

  26. Am2 says:

    When I type in the command below this is the error I get what am I doing wrong plz help

    root@bt:~#giskismet -x wardrive.netxml

    (error msg )could not create file parser context for file “wardrive.netxml
    :No such file or directory at /usr/bin/giskismet line 441

  27. Am2 says:

    I was getting errors but after I req for asst I did root@bt:~# ls and copied the .netxml file and did root@bt:~# giskismet -x thefilename.netxml and it worked. Then I did giskismet -q “select * from wireless” -o output.kml but I name the .kml wardrive.kml instead of output.kml. Then copied the .kml file to usb thumbrive and loaded it on winxp where I have google earth installed. My pc is not that fast and im using vmware so using google earth on winxp resulted in less lag. The command line is cool and fast but point and click sort of eases things since I mostly use xp when im not using linux. thanks.

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