An airplane hobby shop owner and an ex-Air Force official have teamed up to create a Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform (otherwise known as the WASP). The unmanned aerial vehicle has a 6-foot wingspan, a 6-foot length and weighs in at 14 pounds. Because of its small form, the device drops under radar and it can be 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. The intimidating aspect of the drone is that it can crack Wi-Fi networks and GSM networks as well as collect the data from them.
The brains of the drone is in a Linux computer on-board that is no larger 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.
The creation and testing of the WASP drone was accomplished without breaking any FCC rules. The system uses Ham radio bands to hack into phone calls and Wi-Fi networks. Not wanting to get into legal trouble with AT&T and T-Mobile, Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins 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 later this week in Las Vegas.
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