Sometime Last Thursday before this deployment, we had a little game we used to play. Some of my army buddies and I would climb the nearby mountains and spend the day observing Juarez (being Scouts after all). We had great fun watching the TTPs of the warring drug cartels and critiquing their work. One day we noticed a small object flying over the city, swooping low and then orbiting certain areas. Upon a closer look we figured it was some time of modified RC plane or ad hoc UAV.
Then at this year’s Black Hat, researchers Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins unveiled their drone, made from commercially available parts.
This drone plane runs on Arduino and would cost you $6,000. This drone is based on FMQ-117B U.S. Army target drone and equipped it with Wi-Fi and hacking tools — IMSI catcher and antenna to spoof a GSM cell tower and hack calls. What’s more? It can launch a dictionary attack on the network using its database of 340million words.
The device onboard tricks phones to disable encryption, and records call details and content before they’re routed to their intended receiver through VoIP or redirected to anywhere else the hacker wants to send them.
So sooner rather than later, expect the face of cyber and actual crime to experience a similar rapid evolution as the military has in the use of these powerful tools. As they used to say on Rationalwiki.org, “TK can see your house from here,” and soon anybody will be able to do that and more. Tinfoil hats may yet come back in style.