Homemade UAV Snoops Into Wi-Fi and Cellular Networks

By Wesley Fenlon

There are planes above you even now, stealing your personal information. Just kidding--but it's possible, as the Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform shows.

Paranoid about shady customers breaking into your Wi-Fi network and rooting around for personal information? Turns out threats from the ground shouldn't be your only concern--threats loom from above, too. A security consultant and an IT expert have collaborated to build a 14 pound remote controlled airplane called WASP, or Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform. The plane started life with the body of an Army target drone, and its creators outfitted it with batteries in place of gasoline and GPS capabilities to follow a preset flight path like the Swinglet CAM.

One last thing they added: a Linux computer with 32GB of storage and an array of hacking tools for breaking into Wi-Fi networks and intercepting phone calls on AT&T and T-Mobile.

The WASP uses BackTrack security penetration software and a password dictionary of three million words to break into Wi-Fi networks. Once it's in, the WASP can store whatever information it feels like collecting on that 32GB storage array. Even more impressive is how it breaks into phone conversations: 11 on-board antennas can pick up calls from AT&T and T-Mobile, and a 4G T-Mobile card routes the calls through VOIP. The call gets routed--and recorded--without anyone being the wiser.

Supposedly the plane itself doesn't violate any FCC regulations, though using it in a populated area would break all kinds of privacy laws. WASP's creators plan to discuss the plane more at this week's DEF CON 19 hacking conference in Las Vegas, but some of the plane's basic specifications are already listed on their website. Most of the parts are off the shelf.

With a length of 76 inches and a wingspan of 67 inches, the plane can only fly for 30-45 minutes on its two six cell batteries. While the plane can fly around on a preset route, landing is all manual and controlled with a touchscreen unit and an HD camera mounted on the plane. Even with its short flight time, the WASP is an impressive homebrew spy plane. Just imagine how much better the real Army stuff has to be.

Images via Rabbit-Hole.org