Miniature Drone /UAV Sniffs Wi-fi and Cell Conversations

Image from Wired.com

You may now add to the list of technology that can and will spy on your wireless internet connections, home networks and cell phone conversations. The WASP, or Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform, can do all this, and keep on doing it for quite some time – orbiting overhead silently.

14 pounds and 6 feet long, the retired military drone was converted for this new task by researchers Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins. Its purpose is to show what bad guys can build, given the right talent and cash. This concerns me, but isn’t really a surprise. It is my personal belief that drones /UAVs are going to be big players in the public’s battle to maintain some sense of parity with local officials everywhere, and figure largely in the plans of retreat owners looking to secure against the bad guys. When you look at this plane, don’t become locked into its size and form. It could just as easily be a different size, home built glider with power added, a multi-rotor copters of sorts, even a balloon. Most private UAVs though, are taking on the quad-copter configuration, or something similar with even more motors.

Where might these things be legitimately used? Along with such missions as ranch fence and herd surveys, remote security scans or outlying property, low budget movie filming, journalism, search and rescue, hiking trail recon and bug out recon, personal droves are sure to be big players in the tool boxes of security and defense groups. There is just no way that a collection of individuals with a need for local intel will overlook these. Fixed or rotary wing configuration, it doesn’t matter. There will be a mission for them.

It is very difficult for a small group at a retreat to carry on guard duty. Some estimates call for a minimum of 12 adults to cover rotating shifts and illnesses. For the retreat or homesteading prepper, UAVs make possible fast reviews of the landscape to detect intrusion by anauthorized persons. When someone in a building needs to know what is going on outside, but doesn’t want to risk leaving cover, UAVs are the ticket. The are a force and manpower multiplier in many ways.

Back to the original article and its drone. That machine is the equivalent of a small NSA cracking site, hovering overhead unseen and unheard. It is possible that some people will become the focus of such a machine in the future. How do you defend against these things? I have no idea how to defeat its cell phone spoofing tricks, but the W-Fi tapping can be hindered.

  1. Do not broadcast your SSID. Make sure your wireless router is configured to not broadcast the SSID – the network name.
  2. Chose a network name that doesn’t make sense in any language.
  3. Create a wireless password that includes upper and lower case letter, numbers, symbols and doesn’t appear to be a word of any type. Use strong encryption settings, such as WPA2.
  4. Create a unique user ID and password for router access.
  5. Change your passwords often. Do not e-mail them around. Give them to your people in person.

Additionally, you can use an active search for these drones. They all give off heat, and at 400 feet or closer (necessary to connect to your Wi-Fi), thermal imaging will “see” them in the dark. Once detected, your own UAV can be sent to investigate.

Along with the Wi-Fi and cell tower spoofing equipment, expect that such a drone will have one or more cameras on board. Cameras hate bright lights and lasers. Standard radio intercept should also be considered a possibility. To defeat intercepts, a retreat can make use of private hardwired land lines

Some of you are likely thinking about ways to bring one down. Think about what keeps them up. Practically all of them use propellers.  Props are subject to interference by strings, small nets and plastic bags. The same things will work wonders on fan jets, but those would be much harder to approach. If you feel the bad guys might target your location with home made drones, it is in your interest to have an answer to this aerial intrusion. Your own interceptor drone is the answer. Its capabilities are bounded only by your imagination.

 

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