Tags: drones | steal | phone | data

Drones Steal Phone Data by Pretending to Be Recognized Wi-Fi Networks

Friday, 21 Mar 2014 04:52 PM

By Angela Deines


"Snoopy" isn’t just the name of a beloved cartoon beagle. It’s also the name of a drone that can steal phone data.

The drone, developed by hackers in London, looks for mobile devices that are connected to Wi-Fi and steals the information that passes through the wireless connection from the device.

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"Your phone connects to me and then I can see all of your traffic," Sensepost security researcher Glenn Wilkinson told CNNMoney.

Wilkinson, who claims to be an “ethical hacker” who just helps raise security awareness, developed the drone technology at Sensepost Research Labs in London.

The drones take the unique identification address of each phone to see the traffic on the device, including usernames and passwords a person has saved on various sites, and pretends to be a network the user has previously accessed.

CNNMoney detailed how Wilkinson took the drone out in London during a recent Saturday afternoon. He showed the reporter what he believed to be the homes of several people who had walked underneath Snoopy, which was able to gather the network names and GPS coordinates for about 150 mobile devices.

Collecting device IDs and network names is “probably not illegal,” according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. But taking usernames, passwords and credit card information “with the intent of using them would likely violate wiretapping and identity theft laws” would constitute criminal activity.

According to the CNNMoney article, mobile device users can prevent such attacks by shutting off Wi-Fi connections and forcing their devices to provide prompts before they join a network.

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