I stopped my neighbor's Wi-Fi access. Here is why (and how).


Before you read any further, I would like to mention:

Do not experiment on other people's Wi-Fi networks. That is unethical, and you may stop them from being able to do their job.

It is also not in your interest as you can't follow up if you successfully did the task, neither can you analyze the outcome.

Also, this will be a 3-part series including the following:

  • <writing> Story
  • <theory> More about the technology (aircrack-ng)
  • <how-to> Tutorial


Hey, reader! I haven't written in a long time, and I think the best way to come back is to share a story from my life. A tech story. From my real life. What could that story be? Well, one that has all kinds of aspects to it. And as much as it is a technology-related one, it also sparked a long thought process in my head, made me realize a lot of stuff about our society, and made me genuinely happy I am in tech.

I: The origin of music

Sound. Where does it come from?

The origins of music remain highly contentious; commentators often relate it to the origin of language, with much disagreement surrounding whether music arose before, after or simultaneously with language.

Wikipedia - History of Music

For me, music is a way for people to express themselves. In one way or another, music is a way of communication. And communication does not have to be direct at all times. It was certainly not in this specific story.

After a long weekend full of relaxing activities, I and my girlfriend went to her hometown with the intention to relax a little more before going back to the big city. So it was around 11:00 PM when we arrived at her place. She lives on the 7th floor of a multi-apartment building. Just before we went into the building, she pointed at a window that had bed sheets on the inner side of the room, blocking all light and loud music was playing. She told me that this was a neighbor of hers that blasts music for 5+ years already and nobody is doing anything about it. That made me stop for a while. It almost started me thinking but it was way too late and I drove way too many miles to look into the details. The detail was that it was 11:00 PM and music as loud as a discotheque was banging.

II: The music that never stopped

The language of music speaks to all, no matter what class, creed, or birthplace.

huffingtonpost.co.uk - how music speaks to all of us

But are there times when music shouts or screams? Certainly, there are. ... When we went to the bedroom it turned out it was directly over the room with the music. However, it stopped within minutes of our arrival so I couldn't really stress enough to remember there was loud music at all.

The next morning, however, the same music started at 08:00. Okay, so in my country it is allowed for you to blast music as much as you want as much as it is after 10:00 AM, before 10:00 PM and it is not between 02:00 PM-04:00 PM. Therefore blasting music at 08:00 AM is kind of 'illegal'... I woke up, brushed my teeth, made a coffee, went to get some breakfast... usual morning routine. It was already around 10:00 AM when I started working. I opened my laptop, I logged in to every software I am using, and... BOOM - it hit me.

The music was still there and it was as loud as it could possibly be. It became almost unbearable. It was like a punch from a heavyweight boxer. I realized I can't take this even a second more. Even if it meant for me to get out of there, I was not going to fall victim to a neighbor terrorizing whoever he wanted for whatever reason he had.

I turned to my girlfriend and asked her:

What is this? Who is that doing this? Why is the music never stopping? I will go down and ask for this to stop!

So she answered:

You can't make this stop. It's been like this for years. The one playing the music is the son and he has problems with substance abuse.

And then it ticked. I am not going to go through what went through my mind but I will share I felt terribly sorry for the whole situation.

I then went down and rang the bell. A woman answered the door and told me her head hurts from this music and she will try to stop it but most probably would not be able to. I thanked her and went back home, hoping the blasting will stop.

And with hopes come disappointments.

III: Music & Silence

Once I went back home, I heard some shouting from the apartment below. I instantly managed to figure out some confrontation was happening. To my huge surprise, the music did not stop. It did not stop in 30 minutes neither did it stop in an hour. I had to do something. If not for me, for the comfort of my girlfriend and for the head of the poor old lady.

I opened my dual-booted PoP!_OS and navigated to my terminal. After a couple of commands, I had multiple BSSID entries on the screen. I had to figure out which one was the router of the neighbor below. After some quick conclusions made based on the person's psychological profile I've created in my head, it had to be THAT ONE... and it was.

One command, written in such a simple way (link to technical tutorial). Executed. Due to the huge amount of thoughts entering my head about different aspects of this story, my body flowed with adrenaline. Did it work? Why is the music not stopping? And then, like a ray of light - silence. There was no music. I stopped it. I managed to alter my 'fate' of being terrorized with booming music with one simple device - a laptop. And the person behind all of this did not even have the slightest idea it was SOMEONE that stopped his internet.

Ah, dam**d ISP! I hate you! AAAAH! *input rage sounds*

And in this silence, I felt so much joy.

The rest of the days passed in me deciding when he can listen to music and when not.

IV: Coda ([ˈkoːda])

In music, a coda ([ˈkoːda]) (Italian for "tail", plural code) is a passage that brings a piece (or a movement) to an end. Technically, it is an expanded cadence. It may be as simple as a few measures, or as complex as an entire section.

Wikipedia - Coda (music)

Closing this first part of this series, I'd like to say I am more than grateful I am in tech. I love my job and I love the fact I find the knowledge I acquire useful in any kind of situation throughout my life.

This was my first post that is more story-like so I will not be posting it on The Practical Dev or The DevDojo. These kinds of posts can only be found here (on my personal website) so if you enjoyed it, it might be a good idea to follow me on Twitter as this is the most direct way of being notified when I post.

Keep building your knowledge base, keep adding tools to your toolset and keep being positive in your journey, users!

Made with ❤️ by @twitter_me

See you terminal cowboy!