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SkyNET robo-hacker  (Source:
The DIY air drones break into Wi-Fi networks and control computers remotely -- all for only $600

Computer security has certainly become a popular topic this year due to the string of high-profile hacks conducted by groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec. The CIA, Sony, NATO and different police departments throughout the U.S. are just a few examples of government and corporate hacks executed throughout 2011.

Now, researchers from the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey have created an inexpensive, do-it-yourself air drone that is the "holy grail" of hacking.

The flying drone, dubbed SkyNET, is capable of breaching Wi-Fi networks and controlling computers remotely. It is a modified $300 Parrot quadcopter with a GPS unit, a 3G card, two Wi-Fi cards and a Linux computer.

The drone is capable of flying over any urban area in search of Wi-Fi networks through the control of a botmaster using 3G. Upon finding these Wi-Fi networks, they break in and attack any computers that can be compromised by collecting information over the course of a couple of flights. This information is then sent to a cloud computing service like Amazon EC2 to crack the WEP and WAP wireless security codes. Hackers can then control the computers through the Wi-Fi "drone-to-host connection" remotely.

These zombie computers can then be used to launch attacks via their Internet connections, and hackers benefit because there are no traceable ties to the hacker botmaster. Reverse engineering the botnet does not reveal the identity of the botmaster.

"Here I am at the park flying the drone as a toy and people are [gathered] around me, or the drone, and they are moving within the range of its attacking capabilities," said Sven Dietrich, a computer scientist at the Stevens Institute of Technology, who helped create the botnets.

The drones can trick a smartphone into connecting to it by pretending it's a user's home or office network that the phone is automatically configured to seek.

Another added benefit for the hacker? The DIY project only costs $600.

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2012 Predictions
By Kenenniah on 9/12/2011 5:25:40 PM , Rating: 5
Symantec will offer a new product dubbed "Norton AntiAircraft." This product will indeed disable some of these drones, yet for no apparent reason will completely ignore others. Also it will ocassionally target small children and puppies.

Not to be outdone, McAfee will offer a solution which puports to offer protection yet Internet trolls will proclaim the software actually does nothing. Anecdotal evidence will abound with no clear cut answers.

AVG and Avast will provide free programs to combat this threat. Web pundits will debate endlessly as to which is better, but in the end both will be shown to burn down houses at an alarming rate.

Eset will develop software which actually works fairly well, but almost noone will have ever heard of it.

Eventually Microsoft will take over the FAA turn all areas into no-fly zones where only Microsoft branded mini F-22s will be allowed to operate. These drones will of course be hacked to run botnets themselves and the cycle will repeat itself.

Finally Apple will come along and place improved reality distortion field generators (these will be magical) and the people will rejoice in their newfound sense of security and safety.

RE: 2012 Predictions
By Joz on 9/12/2011 5:51:29 PM , Rating: 2

RE: 2012 Predictions
By andre-bch on 9/12/2011 7:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
LOL, that was a good laugh and the interesting part is, it's all true about those products.

RE: 2012 Predictions
By Flunk on 9/13/2011 9:06:04 AM , Rating: 2
Missed one thing, AVG's Windows Phone has been proven to actually do nothing. Of course, what is there to do on a platform with no viruses yet?

RE: 2012 Predictions
By BugblatterIII on 9/13/2011 4:58:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well it can eat up some CPU cycles. You've paid for the CPU, may as well use it.

RE: 2012 Predictions
By ipay on 9/14/2011 9:42:02 PM , Rating: 3
Or we can just equip our Roomba vacuums with surface-to-air and heat seeking missiles..

Untraceable, huh?
By ipay on 9/14/2011 9:57:57 PM , Rating: 2
Nothing in the networking world is "un-traceable". Whoever told you that either wants you to do something stupid or doesn't know any better.. This is no exception. That 3G card has an internet account set-up in SOMEONE'S name, right? MAC address that's left on the target, can be traced down to the manufacturer of the card and provider and probably the store it was purchased in, with lots of security cameras and maybe a credit card payment? Of course no one would investigate the hell out of it for a simple kid hacking and viruses, but if one would really decide to take down something major through this method, rest assured they will be found. Amateur kid hacker wanna-bees, DO NOT try this at home.

RE: Untraceable, huh?
By bertomatic on 9/15/2011 6:55:53 PM , Rating: 2
MAC's can be spoofed, prepaid 3G from the little store w/o cameras, fake everything, or one of those "fancy" nokia phones ("you" know what im talking about), yea, untraceable is totally possible, if you know what your doing, not for wanna-bees, a tiny, itsy bitsy, little mistake and your busted. Oops, sorry, didn't mean to let loose the BIG secrets.

RE: Untraceable, huh?
By dark matter on 9/18/2011 7:35:24 AM , Rating: 2
Much more likely is the home user notices a little flying helicopter outside his house and some strange looking character in a nearby field and reports him to the police.

Everything else you said can be faked.

I For One
By mindless1 on 9/16/2011 1:54:01 AM , Rating: 2
... welcome legislation that puts everyone involved with these behind bars for a minimum 2 year sentence.

Regardless of the inner geek in me finding it a cool tech application and neat toy, in the end it's still work towards, and in some cases profit from, facilitating or actually committing crimes.

I'm sure some people will disagree, but is it ok to rob banks if I use a fancy laser gun, or run people over in the street if what I'm driving looks like the batmobile?

RE: I For One
By Dr of crap on 9/16/2011 2:25:48 PM , Rating: 1
This thing is built to comment a crime.
It should not be leagal to be sold, in the US at least.

I like the gun analogy!

RE: I For One
By StuckMojo on 9/19/2011 4:33:04 PM , Rating: 2
No, but owning a fancy laser gun or a batmobile is NOT illegal and shouldn't be...and neither should this.

Hacking into your own wifi network is not illegal.

By ViroMan on 9/12/2011 10:54:13 PM , Rating: 2

Looks into building one.

RE: hmm...
By Hieyeck on 9/13/2011 12:00:21 PM , Rating: 2
Strap an used NDS to a parrot. Load AircrackDS. Voila :D

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