WASP UAV Gets Some New Toys, Now Intercepts Your Phone Calls Too


If you had the pleasure of attending last year’s DEFCON conference, you are no doubt familiar with [Mike Tassey] and [Richard Perkins]. There, the pair showed off a work in progress DIY aerial drone named WASP. Short for Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform, WASP was impressive when we brought it to your attention last year, but the duo has spent some time completing their project, adding a few extra features in the process.

The drone still packs the same pico-ITX computer which now runs Backtrack5, and utilizes a 340 million word dictionary for cracking WiFi networks (pardon the pun) on the fly. While updated pen testing tools are well and good, the most impressive update is that the drone can now act as a standalone GSM tower. This allows the pair to trick nearby phones into routing calls through WASP before being relayed to their carrier’s network.

Once WASP is launched, the plane flies autonomously along a preset route, sniffing, hacking, cracking and gathering data until [Tassey and Perkins] summon it back to Earth. The drone is as impressive as it is scary, and we can’t wait to hear what the pair has to say about it this time around.

Continue reading to watch a video demo of WASP taking to the skies and doing its thing.

[via PopSci]

[Thanks, DainBramage1991]


34 thoughts on “WASP UAV Gets Some New Toys, Now Intercepts Your Phone Calls Too

    1. Who knows? Described as low cost, but low cost is relative. No doubt many have spent more “for the “fun of it”. After spending some time at rabbit-hole.org, one could also say that whatever a cost is,it’s an investment in the builders livelihoods. Not that’s anything wrong with that, or that’s an unusual occurrence in the DIY community, but IMO it takes the project out of the realm of they typical amateur projects. [shrug]

  1. i would love to know how they built the GSM tower, but i cant find any documentation on it on their site. Anyone know where i could find more info on a diy gsm tower?? Ive always wanted to build one just for fun.

    1. PopSci says they’re using the rig presented last year at Defcon 18. It cost about $1,500 because it uses the USRP. It’s a really effective rig but too expensive for me, I’d go with the modded phones shown at 27c3.

  2. It seems to me like this plane would have trouble keeping in range of any given wifi network (at least private consumer level) to have enough time to crack it. I could see an RC heli performing that task as it can just hover within range.
    The GSM stuff is pretty darn cool though.

    1. True, I wouldn’t expect the Pico ITX board to crack too many passwords in real-time. However, the specs for the ground station mention “payload interaction”, suggesting that the WASP may be able to reach back for extra computing horsepower.

  3. I’m wondering how long it can stay airborn. I could not readily find it on their site. It seems to me that there might be more efficient airframes available, maybe a motorized glider of some sort. Cool project though, nevertheless.

  4. We should not give domestic surveillance the blessing of the maker community. There’s enough patriot act-fueled constitution shredding without our help. This isn’t cool. It’s freakin’ scary.

    1. It’s scary, but if we (the people) can make them too, then we’ll just have to do that, and tackle the fear head on. The other option, as I see it, is to ignore it. I would prefer to be informed on this subject.

      I don’t want to get into a *whole thing* about this, but if technology is the equalizer of the people, then this is part of it.

  5. Some of you guys are looking in to this too much and are finding a bogeyman where none exist. They’ve invented something cool, well built and most importantly extremely cheap just appreciate the engineering for what it is and stop looking for a bogey man.

    Is there information on the endurance with the new payload? I’m also thinking that the UAV is used as a relay for decoding further afield, the actual aircraft is too small.

  6. I know it is just the wind that is causing all sorts of noises on the video, but for a moment hearing that sound while reading that description gave me creepy chills.

    Impressive project.

  7. @joe this past week my mom called me about a short trip her, and my sister had to make. I provided them with several waypoints, and they weren’t using GPS. Much of the general public uses waypoints in conjunction with GPS receivers everyday. I can’t see the mention of waypoints may not be scary at all.

  8. This is good now add a return flight unit that records the fly start piont to the plane now location. If you have lost radio contact the return system after a set time will return the plane back to its reciever range and call back the operater. Any thing worth having is worth emproving and keeping operational.

  9. although most of designers dont say about the flaws they talk about advantages to show they are intelligent enough to overcome everything
    look at the document i recommend
    not only drones like RQ-170 but also smart weapons like bunker buster are amazing doll like many other technologies around but in a different view there are many laws to defeat them all and there are also passive methods that makes air strikes inefficient in different ways as below:
    -Bomb fuses path deflection to increase failure rate and stop direct penetration
    -Bomb capture (spider mesh technique)
    -Electronic warfare technique (jamming, faraday cage…)
    -Anti aircraft mine (aerial balloon bombs)
    -Improvised shelter (UHPC , high density concrete , dashpot bridge with reactive armor & multi-layer bunkers containing materials with different density)
    read more here:

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