Basically when the broadcast SSID option is enabled, all wireless capable devices can see your router listed together with a bunch of other wireless networks. This option provides a convenience for you to easily connect to it by clicking on your SSID and entering the security key. However, this also allows the nearby hackers to find your network and also see the signal strength with the security type being used directly from Windows without even the need to run a network scanning tool.
Non broadcasting wireless networks are not totally invisible as well because they can be detected by any of the tools mentioned below.
1. inSSIDerinSSIDer is the most popular free and open source Wi-Fi scanning tool available today. It is easy to use and understand without all the confusing configuration. After installation, running inSSIDer will automatically select your wireless adapter to start scanning for available access points. Then the results will be shown in a sortable table in the program displaying information such as SSID, channel, security, RSSI, MAC Address, maximum rate, vendor and network type.
The hidden wireless network is shown in the first line with an empty SSID but the rest of the information about the network is displayed. inSSIDer works on Windows XP/Vista/7 (32-bit & 64-bit) and also on Android and Mac.
Inssider for Windows
Inssider for Android
2. WinhotspotWinhotspot is actually a stand alone application that allows you to easily create a hotspot to share your Internet connection using your wireless adapter. However it also comes with a scanner which can be accessed from the WiFi Stats tab and clicking the Refresh button shows all the available wireless networks including the hidden ones.
The wardriving feature is very basic that only shows the important information such as SSID, Auth, BSSID, Signal, Radio and Channel. This utility is only 154KB in size and works only in Windows 7 and 8.
3.CommView for WiFi
CommView for WiFi is a special edition of CommView designed for
capturing and analyzing network packets on wireless 802.11 a/b/g
networks. It gathers information from the wireless adapter and decodes
the analyzed data. In addition, CommView lets you see the list of
network connections and vital IP statistics and examine individual
packets. Packets can be decrypted utilizing user-defined WEP keys and
are decoded down to the lowest layer, with full analysis of the most
widespread protocols. The captured packets can be saved to log files for
future analysis. CommView provides several filter options, that allow
to drop unnecessary packets and limit capture to essential information.
Additional features include configurable alarms, pie chart statistics,
import/export, packet search and full decoding of most protocols.
CommView for WiFi requires you to replace your wireless network card
driver – the monitoring computer will be in a passive mode and not be
able to connect to the network, other than for packet monitoring. The
program should be installed on a dedicated machine or secondary network
card. You can also hack wifi with the help of these tools.
Commwifi for Windows