The safety of Wi-Fi networks may be in danger from small threats flying above us. An airplane hobby shop owner and an ex-Air Force official team up to create a drone that cracks into Wi-Fi and cell phones.
Built by Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins, the Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform (otherwise known as the WASP) is a flying drone that has a 6-foot wingspan, a 6-foot length and weighs in at 14 pounds. The small form factor of the unmanned aerial vehicle allows it to drop under radar and is often mistaken for a large bird. It was built from an Army target drone and converted to run on electric batteries rather than gasoline. It can also be loaded with GPS information and fly a predetermined course without need for an operator. Taking off and landing have to be done manually with the help of a mounted HD camera, though. However, the most interesting aspect of the drone is that it can crack Wi-Fi networks and GSM networks as well as collect the data from them.
It can accomplish this feat with a Linux computer on-board that’s no bigger than a deck of cards. The computer accesses 32GB of storage to house all that stolen data. It uses a variety of networking hacking tools including the BackTrack toolset, as well as a 340-million-word dictionary to guess passwords. In order to access cell phone data, the WASP impersonates AT&T and T-Mobile cell phone towers and fools phones into connecting to one of the eleven antennas on-board. The drone can then record conversations to the storage card, and avoids dropping the call due to the 4G T-mobile card routing communications through VoIP.
Amazingly, this was accomplished without breaking a single FCC regulation. The drone relies on the frequency band used for Ham radios to operate. Not wanting to get into legal trouble with AT&T and T-Mobile, they tested the technology in isolated areas to avoid recording phone conversations other than their own. The duo will discuss how to build the WASP at the DEFCON 19 hacking conference starting Thursday in Las Vegas.