Marius Milner Identified As WiFi-Sniffing Engineer In Google Street View Case

Posted May 1, 2012

Marius Milner has been identified as the engineer that wrote the code for scooping up the private WiFi data from Google Street View cars. The FCC had fined Google $25,000 for grabbing the personal data from unprotected WiFi networks. Before working at Google, Milner worked at Lucent and Avaya. He is also known as the author of NetStumbler, which he calls “the world’s first usable ‘Wardriving. application for Windows… a de facto wireless security tool, used by hundreds of thousands of people.”

When NetStumbler was released, it allowed people to easily find WiFi networks and find information about them including signal strength, SSID, and what channels are being broadcasted on. “Wardrivers” used NetStumbler to map WiFi networks through entire regions.

Security professionals have used NetStumbled to check whether there were any unauthorized WiFi networks at corporations that could be exploited and to check the security of authorized WiFi networks. NetStumbler won an award from PC Magazine/eWeek at NetWorld+Interop as being the most innovative wireless software and service.

Even though Google implied that data was collected inadvertently and portrayed Milner as being a rogue employee. However Milner wrote a report that clearly says that his software would capture “payload data” from unencrypted private WiFi networks including personal information such as emails, passwords, etc.

Milner sent the report to the Street View leaders along with a link to his software. Then they sent the report and link to everyone else on the Street View team. Milner should not be bashed on as he was simply doing his job and provided clear warnings.