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At the Black Hat conference, two security experts demonstrated how radio-controlled model aircraft, equipped with computer technology and 4G, was used as a hacking device which is virtually impossible to detect and which can carry out air attacks against targets which are inaccessible from the ground.

Created entirely from available in hardware stores and open software, worth only $ 6100, demo plane presented by experts, was able to carry out operations on passive listening to their networks and hacking, spoofing cellular towers, for monitoring the cellular telephones and interception of telephone conversations, data exfiltration and video surveillance.

“In fact, with the help of this device can do a lot of things wrong directly from the air, “- said Mike Tess, who along with Richard Perkins devoted more than 1,300 hours building, testing and improvement device called the Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform (WASP, Wireless aerial observation platform).

Built on the remnants of military unmanned aircraft, which were at Perkins, the model is equipped with multiple wireless antennas and microcomputer with GPS, wireless sniffer and distribution Backtrack 5 designed for penetration testing. Weighing 14 pounds (6.35 kg) and a length of 6 feet (183 cm) model aircraft is connected through 4G-dongle with a small station, which controls the model for using Google Earth and the Open-software for the autopilot. Basic station collects data from the aircraft, and sends them through a connection VPN, the server that can handle more complex data to commit complex computational problems. Connecting to the Internet also allows distribute data among multiple attackers with different skills in case if need help with the human mind.

The aircraft is powered by an electric motor, which is not audible at distance of about 15 meters. Thus, WASP is almost impossible to hear. Although the rules FAA (Federal Aviation Agency) prohibit such flights devices at more than 400 feet (122 m), unmanned aircraft can climb to an altitude of more than 20 000 feet (6096 meters).

Perkins and Tessie also suggests that a device like a set up they could potentially be used for criminal purposes, beyond ordinary hacking, such as drug trafficking and terrorism. On the other hand, these drones can be used in a “peaceful purposes” For example, for research and rescue, law enforcement and even for the cellular communication in areas of disasters. Regardless of the goals for which the device was created, it is absolutely easy to design.

“You do not need a degree to create a model” – says Perkins.

To my regret, both specialists admit that they have not come up with reliable way to protect against WASP-attacks. However, this device is not afraid rockets, as it leaves no trace of heat, or radar, which responsive bombs.

“So how do you protect yourself from this? I do not know. It is a matter for reflection. We need people who would think about it, “- says Perkins.” Because if we have devised a model, it means someone else thought of it too. Simply, they do not tell you. “