Mobbing and wireless networks: Data in, and data out

Suppose that you could constrain the extent of your wireless network. There are tools that allow you to do so, after all. My Century Link router allows the consumer administrator to set the percentage of broadcast power allocated to the network. I considered playing around with it to see if I could limit the availability of my own wireless network to my house.

A few months back, I came across NetSpot, a WiFi survey application made for the Mac. NetSpot allows the user to detect and visualize the WiFi networks by walking them. You “run a survey” by walking the network space, and Netspot “marks” your position within the mapping. So far I’ve only used the free version, which doesn’t include the sexy visual mappings, but the data amassed by the application and organized into a table shows its potential. According to NetSpot, the application “lets you troubleshoot and improve your network’s coverage, capacity, performance, APs (access points) configurations, signal level, interference, noise….” (NetSpot: Your Wi-Fi survey app for Mac, http://www.netspotapp.com/features.html).

This last weekend, a three-day weekend ending in Labor Day, the real estate mobbing continued from houses north and south, but cautiously. This likely in part because yet another house around me has changed hands; the long-abandoned house two doors down was finally auctioned off by the King County Sheriff Friday before last, with the new owners—a couple making their living by purchasing, rehabilitating and then flipping houses—taking possession the next day. They’ve been here every day, a large dumpster collecting refuse from the house and, over the weekend, a crew of gardeners taming the landscape, today grinding up their yield of wood with a portable chipper.

The presence of the mobbers or those who work onsite to monitor and protect this clandestine effort to “mob” me out of my legal rental home continued nevertheless, with fewer shows of brash, thirty-something men strutting, shirts off and designer sunglasses on, around the south mobbing house driveway, and without the roar of the engines of their SUVs as they pull in and out of the driveway, packing it with vehicles in a buildup of troops and artillery across a hostile border. There were no skirmishes, but reconnaissance continued with the comings and goings of the mobbers.

Saturday brought the return of a guy I’ve seen before in the driveway of the south mobbing house owner. He prefers to “work” with the garage door open, backing his small blue SUV with specialty Washington plates up the driveway and then stationing himself at the mouth of the open garage while mobbing harassment is directed into my house to whatever extent possible. This varies based on whether I’m alone in my home as well as whether the nearest neighbors are in evidence.

Sometimes I look over to check and see who they are are in hopes of making a positive identification of them once investigators begin to crack this ring of “tenant relocators” or otherwise criminal real estate speculators. I try to memorize their faces and physical likenesses. I remember hearing in the mobbing harassment at one point, an admonishment not to be outside when they come and go, and for that reason believe it is evermore important in the bullying situation that real estate mobbing is, to the extent it is safe (and though I’m told the north mobbing house owner has talked about shooting me in the face, I so far believe that it has not been their intent to use overt violence, since that would surely expose this “white glove” method of forced eviction), to ensure that they know I am aware of what is going on around me and, moreover, that they know I am documenting it. I believe this protects me; that is a major reason for my beginning this blog. I also believe that because my blogging exposes the practice of mobbing, it helps to prevent real estate mobbing from happening to others.

On Sunday, I was in my dining room when the south house mobber with the tattoos and CrossFit stickers pulled his red SUV into the driveway. His child got out of the passenger side of the vehicle and, holding what appeared to be a smart phone in his hands, walked down the driveway started up the street, walking close to my vehicles and from the south to the north bounding property line. The child held his device in two hands, studying it as he walked the right-of-way along the perimeter of my home. Then he moved across the street, his father following along and standing opposite his child at the south end of the property of the new home owner just north of the nasty neighborhood watch lady’s house. This would be the new home owner who told me about the north mobbing house owner going on about shooting me in the face. The pair stood there momentarily, both of them studying their devices, raising them higher into the air with eyes seemingly fixed on their screens. Then they turned, walked again past my home, and up the driveway of the south mobbing house owner.

Like the pieces of the puzzle that fall into place slowly and over time spent in a mobbing, as I watched the pair walk the perimeter of my home, and then linger in the right-of-way closest to a home owner who is not in their camp, I considered if this was another such piece.

For some time, it’s been clear that WiFi access plays a central role in my real estate mobbing. I’ve stepped up my administration of the WiFi network in my home, a network that I rarely use apart from any wireless TV services that it supports on the Century Link router that replaced my Comcast service this last year. Along with changing passwords, I’m now permitting access to the WiFi network based on MAC identification. When I can, I shut WiFi radios off entirely. To provide bandwidth to my roommates, the WiFi radios in my router are these days on, most of the time.

In the same way that NetSpot allows the user to map a network by walking it, I suspect that the mobbers at least have an awareness of the margins of their wireless networks, and of mine between them. Although I was a bit shocked to see the tattooed guy’s child lead the way, it makes sense that they would walk close to the edges of my property looking for falloff of my network as well as the reach of their own wireless networks and the possible envelopment of the physical space over my home and between their own, the mobbing houses to my north and my south.

It seems plausible enough. With the weight of a black cloud, the WiFi network of the mobbing owner to the north shows the same strength as my own, and sometimes better. This is the mobbing house owner who offered, pretty much the first time I met him, to “share” his wireless network with me. After all, he said, he had done it before.

When I’ve written about this before, it was within the content of data extraction from my network, the ease with which packets of information could be captured from my network if it was shared or gave easy access to the mobbing houses. The shared neighborhood infrastructure implemented by Comcast gives great access to mobbing victims, between neighborhood “hot spots” and lines that are shared from the pole by adjacent houses, making it easy to use the convergence between Internet and television to lurk just outside your neighbor’s network with a packet sniffer. And the mobbers made assertions like, “We’ve got all of your email,” and “We’re going to kill you on the Internet [among other things, by dumping your email all over the Internet].” Given the circumstances, these statements have been believable.

For the first year of the mobbing, the harassment often included the assertion “We’re on your network,” a statement that seemed intended to convince me that I had no alternative other than to yield. They’ve also said that my security equipment, or that some of my roommates’ devices, have been on theirs. Either one of these possibilities is easily enabled by networks within proximity to one another, and the clandestine use of such a scheme is protected by the shortened attack vector that proximity provides.

When the apparent child of the tattooed mobber walks the right-of-way areas that bound the neighboring homes and the networks they broadcast, he and his father can determine the range of the WiFi networks available for use as well as the margin for error. Does the 5G network of the north mobbing house extend over my home and into the south mobbing house? Is my SSID broadcast and available at the street? And does the wireless coverage of the north mobbing house diminish before anything transmitted to or from a wireless radio can be picked up by radios, networked or otherwise, in the home of the new neighbors just across the street?

It is this acute awareness of WiFi networks’ reach and extent that likely allows the mobbers both access to their mobbing victim and protection from detection. Again, I am limited in my knowledge of radio and hacking, but everything is a radio, and as I’ve written before, when it comes to mobbing, All Your Device Are Belong to Us. The creation and access of shared WiFi networks as well as access to the network of the mobbing victim himself likely enables the hidden use of software-defined radio to transmit mobbing harassment to victim devices as well as providing a wireless “umbrella,” or perhaps a “canopy,” in the airspace above the victim home and network that could be accessed by a surveillance drone enabled for hacking and for the projection of beam-focused sound. Determining the margins of the network would be critical to help to ensure that sound meant for the network of the victim is not received by radios of all kinds within the homes of potential witnesses. Awareness of network information for the victim house as well as surrounding homes, including the mobbers’ own homes, is not useful simply to acquire data, but to send and protect mobbing harassment that is transmitted over the wire as data.

 

 

 

 

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