The Coolest Flying Drone Out There

What if I told you there was an unmanned drone that was developed to fly around, sniff Wi-Fi networks, and eavesdrop on GSM phone conversations? You’d probably get angry and yet another device developed by Motherland Homeland Security to spy on the citizens of the United States. In this case your rage would be misdirected because this drone was developed by a private individual trying to raise awareness of the poor security found on many Wi-Fi and all GSM networks:

At the Black Hat and Defcon security conferences in Las Vegas next week, Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins plan to show the crowd of hackers a year’s worth of progress on their Wireless Aerial Surveillace Platform, or WASP, the second year Tassey and Perkins have displayed the 14-pound, six-foot long, six-foot wingspan unmanned aerial vehicle. The WASP, built from a retired Army target drone converted from a gasoline engine to electric batteries, is equipped with an HD camera, a cigarette-pack sized on-board Linux computer packed with network-hacking tools including the BackTrack testing toolset and a custom-built 340 million word dictionary for brute-force guessing of passwords, and eleven antennae.

“This is like Black Hat’s greatest hits,” Tassey says. “And it flies.”

On top of cracking wifi networks, the upgraded WASP now also performs a new trick: impersonating the GSM cell phone towers used by AT&T and T-Mobile to trick phones into connecting to the plane’s antenna rather than their carrier, allowing the drone to record conversations and text messages on a32 gigabytes of storage

How fucking cool (and scary) is that? Truth be told the security on many devices that we commonly use today is completely nonexistent. Last year there was a demonstration at Defcon showing that it’s very possible for an average person to get the equipment necessary to spy on people using GSM phones (CDMA, as far as I know, is still safe from non-government snoopers).