Homemade drone can snoop nearly anywhere

Two researchers showed off a drone at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas that they say could track people, detonate dirty bombs, sniff out Wi-Fi connections or otherwise induce mayhem, Wired's Kim Zetter reports.

Security researchers Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins built the Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform, or WASP, by spending about $6,000 to augment two surplus Army drones, Zetter writes. As required by the Federal Aviation Administration, the drone must fly no higher than 400 feet and must remain within sight. However, that is more than enough wiggle room for criminals, terrorists and other purveyors of chaos to maximize the potential of a drone equipped with technology that can find wireless networks and spoof cell phone towers, among other things, Zetter writes.

In the right hands, Zetter writes, the drone could help rescuers find missing hikers or form a mesh network in a disaster zone.

However, Tassey said at the conference that if the two researchers can create such a drone, well-funded criminal organizations — or nationally funded spy programs — could do so just as easily. In the Wired article, Zetter includes a video that shows the WASP drone in action.

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Fri, Aug 5, 2011

It's crazy to be able to buy Army drones from war surplus store

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