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Beware of Snoopy, the hacking drone

Experts prove drones can be used to steal data, as they hack 150 phones in 60 minutes using WiFi

LONDON: News that hovering drones can now steal passwords from unsuspecting phones will do little to ease fears that the widespread use of unmanned aircrafts could infringe upon our privacy.

Gotcha: Hackers have proved that it is possible to steal information, including bank details, from smartphones that have WiFi turned on, using specially adapted drones.
Gotcha: Hackers have proved that it is possible to steal information, including bank details, from smartphones that have WiFi turned on, using specially adapted drones. Representation pic

Hackers from the US have managed to ‘steal’ information, including Amazon passwords, bank details and even people’s home addresses using a drone.

Though it might sound like a crime from a Bond movie, the exercise was an experiment to highlight the fact that it was possible to tap into a smartphone’s WiFi settings and access valuable information through drones.

The test was conducted in London, and the group will share their findings at the Black Hat Asia cybersecurity conference in Singapore next week.

The drone, known as Snoopy, seeks out smartphones that have WiFi turned on. It then makes use of built-in technology, which can see what networks the phones have accessed in the past. In theory, almost any drone could be adapted to do this. It then masquerades as a WiFi network and accesses the phone and the data sent by it.

How can a drone steal?

>> Snoopy, seeks out smartphones that have WiFi turned on
>> It then makes use of built-in technology that can see what networks the phones have accessed in the past
>> Phones ‘noisily’ reach out to networks, say experts
>> Snoopy looks for this activity and when hovering nearby, it emits a signal masquerading as another network
>> The phone ‘trusts’ that it is accessing a trusted network
>> Snoopy can then intercept everything a smartphone sends and receives, and allows skilled hackers to see passwords, bank details and the phone’s location

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