Aerial Drone Cracks WiFi, Taps Cell Phones: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

A rather obscure aviation contraption is making headlines this week by cracking secure wireless Internet (WiFi) and a cell phone networks (GSM), and along with it, a host of personal information and sensitive data.

The Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform (otherwise known as the WASP) is an unmanned vehicle converted to run on batteries instead of gasoline. It has a 6-foot wingspan, a 6-foot length and weighs in at 14 pounds.

WASP stores global positioning system (GPS) information that allows it to fly a predetermined course without the assistance of an operator, only requiring human intervention for taking off and landing.

WASP Able to Crack Secure WiFi, GSM Networks

In reality, WASP looks like souped-up remote controlled airplane -- but, what sets it apart from a regular remote controlled airplane is its ability to crack even the most secure WiFi and GSM networks, while poaching information within seconds.

It accomplishes this with an attached Linux computer that is no bigger than a deck of cards. It uses a myriad of hacking tools as well as a 340-million-word dictionary to unlock passwords. (Source:

The WASP is also able to access mobile data by impersonating AT&T and T-Mobile cell phone towers. It does this by spoofing mobile phones into connecting with one of the eleven antenna on board. It can record phone conversations directly to the storage card and avoids dropping calls thanks to the 4G T-Mobile card routing communications through VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol).

In total, the Linux computer has access to 32GB of storage to house stolen data.

Data-Stealing Method Aligns with FCC Regulations

Surprisingly, the data poaching is done without breaking a single FCC regulation because it uses a frequency band that is intended for ham radios. (Source:

There is a silver lining in all of this, however: the controversial vehicle was built by hackers intending to raise awareness at the DEFCON 19 hacking conference. Thus, it's not built to steal information, though its development most certainly demonstrates there is a possibility.

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