How to remotely hack into Wi-Fi networks and cell-phone calls

August 3, 2011 by Amara D. Angelica

WASP co-designer Mike Tassey a.k.a. Red Queen

Ever want to fly a remote-controlled plane over houses, recording cell-phone conversations and text messages at random and hacking into Wi-Fi networks and computers?

Well, first, click here and report yourself. Then check out the Defcon session (August 4–7, Las Vegas) by Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins on the latest version of their WASP (Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform).

“This session has everything you want, big yellow aircraft flown by computers, pounds of highly volatile chemicals, CUDA, 50 Amp electrical circuits and the ability to attack networks, systems and cell phones interactively from a remote location anywhere in the world,” the session description reads. “We will demonstrate a fully functional open source autonomous aerial wireless hacking platform and explain how to pwn the friendly skies.”

The WASP has an HD camera, a cigarette-pack sized on-board Linux computer packed with network-hacking tools, a 340 million word dictionary for brute-force guessing of passwords, and eleven antennas, and can record conversations and text messages on 32GB of storage. A 4G T-mobile card routes the communications through voice-over-Internet or traditional phone connections to avoid dropping the call.

So how do they get away with this? Well, for starters, they don’t plan to demonstrate the phone-hacking trick at the conference, and they say they have tested it only in isolated conditions to ensure their flying contraption wasn’t illegally eavesdropping on strangers’ phones, according to Forbes. And they’re well connected. Perkins is an Air Force contractor focused on cybersecurity and Tassey is an ex-Air Force consultant. They say they want to demonstrate the vulnerability of government and corporate facilities.