Wired is reporting on the WASP — Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform — a spy drone created by two security consultants with about $6,000 and a military surplus FMQ-117B target drone. Mike Tassey and Rick Perkins demonstrated the WASP yesterday at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. The capabilities of the clandestine mini-plane are breathtaking, according to Wired, comprising a:
“Personal remote-controlled spy plane, complete with WiFi and hacking tools, such as an IMSI catcher and antenna to spoof a GSM cell tower and intercept calls, as well as a network sniffing tool and a dictionary of 340 million words for brute-forcing network passwords.”
You can watch a test flight from May below:
At a weight of only 14 pounds and six feet in length, the drone is much smaller than most military counterparts, making it even more suitable for use in heavily populated areas. While FAA regulations mandate that the plane must fly below 400 feet and remain within line of site, the drone is quiet enough even at that restricted altitude to hover overhead and collect digital data.
On the technical expertise required to build and operate the WASP, Perkins said, “You don’t need a PhD from MIT to do this.” Perkins and Tassey created the drone to show others that it could be done, and to promote the possible positive uses of the technology as well as prepare the public for nefarious use in the future as well.
Search and rescue attempts, disaster relief, and, of course, law enforcement surveillance could utilize a drone like the WASP. However, it seems only a matter of time before criminals and terrorists turn to this technology to steal data, jam communications, or conduct reconnaissance for attacks. In a well-publicized example, the Terrorist group Hezbollah back in 2006 apparently rammed an explosives-laden drone into an Israeli warship.
As this technology continues to evolve, the public learns more, and the parts become less expensive, there is a good chance you might see something like this flying over your house one day soon.