Remote-Controlled Army Drone Modified to Hack Your Wi-Fi

Two self-proclaimed hackers — former information technology employees for the U.S. Air Force — have modified an army drone that can “discreetly break into Wi-Fi networks, emit jamming signals and even pose as a cellphone tower to intercept communications from the ground,” according to Popular Science.

Richard Perkins and Mike Tassey spent two years and $6,000 to create this Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform — pet named Vespid, which is Latin for wasp — that they envision use for in surveillance applications.

Vespid operated by Richard Perkins. (Photo: John Fedele via Popular Science)

Here’s what it takes according to Popular Science:

  • FQM-117B Army target drone
  • High-powered radio antenna
  • 32-gigabyte USB drive
  • 4G USB dongle
  • Two lithium-polymer batteries

Perkins and Tassey removed the drone’s original radio system, which they replaced with some of the above components for hacking capabilities. The drone can fly for about a half hour on its battery power and has soared up to 22,000 feet.

Popular Science reports that then men showcased Vespid to prove a point at an August security conference:

If they could construct a spy drone from legal, off-the-shelf components for a few thousand dollars, then despite its complexity, others could do the same — including those with nefarious motives.

Other than being capable of hacking, the modified drone also could have some more honorable applications such as providing Wi-Fi and cell service in disaster zones.

Watch this test flight of Vespid earlier this year: