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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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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.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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