Modders have turned a Parrot A.R.Drone into a flying hacker for wi-fi networks. Scared? You should be.
Joe has been writing about consumer tech for nearly seven years now, but his liking for all things shiny goes back to the Gameboy he received aged eight (and that he still plays on at family gatherings, much to the annoyance of his parents). His pride and joy is an Infocus projector, whose 80-inch picture elevates movie nights to a whole new level.
Well you can't accuse these modders of not having a sense of humour. Not only have they tweaked a Parrot A.R.Drone so it can hack into wi-fi networks, they've also called it SkyNET, after the artificial intelligence system in The Termintaor. You know, the one that became self-aware and tried to destroy humanity.
Though this SkyNET's aims are a little more modest. Instead of enslaving humanity it just wants to hack your home wi-fi network. Still, bloody annoying.
Once in your network it dragoons your computer into a botnet, which is used for hacking, denial-of-service attacks, and spamming. And it's a crafty blighter: because the botnet is operated from the drone rather than an internet connection, it's harder to track down. You'd have to find the drone itself and follow it back to its owner. Or just smash it into smithereens.
Basically, if you see this hovering outside your lounge window, start worrying.
It's the product of a team at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, USA. It currently costs $600 (£378), but the team is working on bringing down the price. (A standard, non-hacking Parrot A.R.Drone will set you back £280.) The team of three has suggested defences against it, including shoring up your wi-fi by detecting new connections. Or perhaps the three of them could work on something that'll use technology to help us, rather than just infuriate.
You can read the full paper right here. No uses are given in the paper, though short of industrial espionage, we can't see it being anything but a nuisance.
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