New Drones Hack Smartphones?

Most of us would never share our passwords, but, our mobile devices could be shouting out that information.

CNNMoney reports, hackers have developed a drone that can steal information from smart phones, using technology paired with a drone.

The unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drone, are incredibly versatile, and have been used to do everything from deliver beer to packages.  And now hackers have a new use for the flying robots.

The drone technology is called Snoopy.  It’s being tested in London. Glenn Wilkerson developed the technology along with Daniel Cuthbert at Sensepost Research Labs.  He says the technology has been used on cell phones and laptops, but could one day be installed in larger aircraft like helicopters or small planes.

“It’ll fly within a relative close distance to a person with a phone tucked safely in their pocket, and if they’ve left their Wi-Fi on, which most people do in my experience, their phone will very noisily be shouting out the name of every network it’s ever connected to. They’ll be shouting out, Starbucks are you there?” Wilkerson explained.

The Snoopy drone can send back a signal pretending to be networks you’ve connected to in the past.  Then the drone can intercept everything the phone sends and receives –allowing the hacker access to: your usernames, passwords, credit card information and in some cases, your home address.

Wilkinson says he built the Snoopy Drone to highlight insecurities in smart devices. Some of the things snoopy can do, like steal usernames and passwords, are illegal.  Other features, like tracking location data, probably would not break any U.S. laws.

If the technology got in the hands of criminals, there are all kinds of things they could do.  Here’s a list of additional steps experts say you can take to protect yourself:

  • Remove Malware: use a port scanner on your computer to
  • Carry out regular back ups: periodically back up your date and test the backups to ensure they are in good working condition
  • Use latest version of antivirus software to protect against viruses particularly in email messages
  • Use anti-spyware to protect against illegal programs tracking internet use or monitoring keystrokes to gather passwords
  • Install intrusion detection software to alert you when someone tries to access your system illegally
  • Install a firewall to maintain a secure interface between your computer and public networks


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