21 March 2014, 13:31

UK drones can hack smartphone users' private data

UK drones can hack smartphone users' private data

UK drones can now hack smartphone users' private data. The sensitive information can be grabbed from the GPS location to the mobile applications' login names and passwords and can be executed without the user ever finding out. The software, Snoopy, can transform an innocent video capturing drone into a malicious data snatching thief.

The technology Snoopy harnesses works as an interceptor of Wi-Fi signals when cellphones are searching for an open network to connect. Researchers in London have been experimenting with the drones and plan to present it at the Black Hat Asia cybersecurity conference in Singapore in about a week from now. Drones equipped with the covert software can help identity thieves gather more sensitive data from unsuspecting users which is an eminent security threat.

Though the actions the drone can execute can easily inject a good dose of panic into the public, the project was created to help raise awareness and educate consumers on how vulnerable their sensitive data is to thieves, according to what Glenn Wilkinson, a Sensepost security researcher and Snoopy's co-inventor revealed to CNN Money.

Many will not be surprised to hear the US National Security Agency (NSA) already has technology similar to Snoopy’s that can tap into Wi-Fi connections and take control of mobile devices. Snoopy is not for retail, at least for the time being, however it is fair to say that phone-hacking drones could easily become a future reality in America especially after a federal judge not too long ago overturned the US Federal Aviation Administration's ban placed on commercial drones. Since the abolishment of the ban, filmmakers, and firms like Amazon and Facebook have permission to fly drones, whether their purpose is to deliver goods or increase Internet access.

Before clinging onto a Wi-Fi signal, smartphones first look to see if any previously they had been connected to are in close proximity. The Snoopy software sneaks in and pretends to be an old network connection. Once it attaches onto a device, it can figure out a user's web browsing history. Knowledge of user activity allows hackers to understand their spending habits and even where they work.

Wi-Fi hacks are said to be for the most part simple to execute and are becoming far more common these days. Sensitive data can even be pulled from a person's home Wi-Fi router. As Wi-Fi hotspots continue to grow, consumers need to take steps to safeguard their precious financial data on their tech devices.

Voice of Russia, Thinkprogress.org

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