How to Set Up a Wireless Trap

By Ashley Poland

Updated September 15, 2017

Items you will need

  • Extra computer

  • Extra wireless router

  • Network hub

You will want to keep your home network separate from your honeypot.
i computer wires image by Allyson Ricketts from

Unsecured wireless networks are vulnerable to people out to steal your wireless Internet. In the best case, someone may use a lot of your bandwidth for downloads, and in the very worst case scenario, someone can put your entire home network in danger. Networks designed to entrap and warn hackers you're aware of their activities are called "wireless traps" or even "honeypots." This type of network is left open and appears enticingly generic. If you wish to acquire the extra hardware, you can set up your own wireless trap.

Connect your spare computer to your spare wireless router to configure the wireless access point. Depending on how you intend to run the connection, you can connect a second PC via a wired network hub to monitor users connecting to the wireless trap, or you can just monitor connections using the honeypot computer.

Connect the computer to your spare wireless hub. You can set the wireless trap service set identifier (SSID) to whatever you like, though it will probably seem most enticing if left with system defaults. Networks using system defaults appear to have been plugged in without being customized.

Connect your spare router to a network hub that connects to your monitoring computer--if you intend to use a second computer to monitor the network.

Install Wireshark or a similar program on the computer you'll use to monitor the wireless trap. This program allows you to keep a close watch on who tries to connect to your decoy network and reveals detailed information about the computer from which they attempted to connect.

Program in any quirks or tricks you wish to include in your wireless trap (see Tips).


Step 5: Computer Science professor Will Backman designed his honeypot network to trap and warn hackers that they had been tricked, while Jon Thompson of PC Plus likes the idea of changing the network's name and security settings suddenly to let the hackers know you've been watching. Some people prefer to set up their honeypot to mess with the hackers more obviously--such as setting all websites to display backwards.

If you have an old computer but need a new operating system, consider trying a simple version of Linux; most distributions are free, relatively easy to install and can run on low-resource computers.

You can test the functionality of your wireless trap by connecting from another computer and comparing your information to what the monitoring program displays.


It is illegal to willfully and knowingly transmit a virus to another computer, even if the user is trying to steal your Internet; do not set your wireless trap to infect a hacker's computer.