Hackers build drone that steals tons of sensitive smartphone data

Hackers in London have invented a drone capable of stealing data, including passwords and location, straight from your smartphone.

Codenamed “Snoopy,” the drone is deployed above busy city streets and searches out target phones with WiFi settings switched on, taking advantage of a common smartphone feature to continuously search for networks that a user has already approved and accessed.

“Their phone will very noisily be shouting out the name of every network its ever connected to,” Snoopy developer Glenn Wilkinson said in a CNN report. “They’ll be shouting out, ‘Starbucks, are you there?… McDonald’s Free Wi-Fi, are you there?”

Snoopy’s onboard software then pretends to be one of those approved networks, and connects to multiple unsuspecting devices at one time, masquerading as different networks. Once connected to the quadcopter, Snoopy intercepts every transmission a phone sends and receives.

After isolating a phone’s individual media access control address, Snoopy can see and record a trove of sensitive information including usernames, passwords, location data, or even saved credit card information in frequently accessed websites or accounts.

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