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Security

Hacking Team and Boeing Subsidiary Envisioned Drones Deploying Spyware 79

Advocatus Diaboli writes: Email conversations posted on WikiLeaks reveal that Boeing and Hacking Team want drones to carry devices that inject spyware into target computers through WiFi networks. The Intercept reports: "The plan is described in internal emails from the Italian company Hacking Team, which makes off-the-shelf software that can remotely infect a suspect's computer or smartphone, accessing files and recording calls, chats, emails and more. A hacker attacked the Milan-based firm earlier this month and released hundreds of gigabytes of company information online. Among the emails is a recap of a meeting in June of this year, which gives a "roadmap" of projects that Hacking Team's engineers have underway. On the list: Develop a way to infect computers via drone. One engineer is assigned the task of developing a "mini" infection device, which could be "ruggedized" and "transportable by drone (!)" the write-up notes enthusiastically in Italian. The request appears to have originated with a query from the Washington-based Insitu, which makes a range of unmanned systems, including the small ScanEagle surveillance drone, which has long been used by the militaries of the U.S. and other countries. Insitu also markets its drones for law enforcement."
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Hacking Team and Boeing Subsidiary Envisioned Drones Deploying Spyware

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  • And what's more, do not want any psychos who would be associated with this shit to be outside of solitary confinement either.

  • Tell me again... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dracos ( 107777 ) on Monday July 20, 2015 @03:15AM (#50143447)

    Who benefits from government-mandated backdoors?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I imagine that, when it happened to them, they laid a complaint with the police or the FBI. It seems to me that it's almost a case of "It's funny because it's not me," since they do it to others.

    I wonder how many people have been killed or tortured because of these people. Fuck them.

  • Better drone (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20, 2015 @03:55AM (#50143533)

    never flies... injects malware traditionally via Internet and the ubiquitous pebkac custom of clicking "scan your harddrive for virus" javascript ads and "install flash now" offers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 20, 2015 @04:01AM (#50143541)

    What they do is illegal anywhere on the planet. How are they not in jail? How can they still travel without getting arrested the minute they step onto foreign soil? We know who they are, where they are, what they do! ARREST THE BASTARDS!

    • So, please detail what's illegal about anything being discussed. The article doesn't talk about them going after you or your network. This is about providing tools to those that need tools. Your complaint, if it becomes legitimate, is only meaningful when someone who's not armed with a warrant or in the middle of conducting operations against (for example) a group like ISIS decides to use the technology outside of a legal context.

      Your silly rhetorical question is like asking why the people who make very
    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      Because they sell to government agencies and police.

  • by Demonoid-Penguin ( 1669014 ) on Monday July 20, 2015 @04:13AM (#50143573) Homepage

    Boeing is a military contractor. When considering providing a service to the military or one of their contractors the first step is to ask "How much?".
    "Can we deliver?" comes later.

    There are exceptional companies, but Hacking Team is not one of them - a personal opinion based on reading much of the leaked data (without questioning it's authenticity).

    "You want the moon? Didn't you see page 27 of our latest brochure [sound of keyboard, then printer] I'll send you another copy in a minute".

    • Boeing is a military contractor. When considering providing a service to the military or one of their contractors the first step is to ask "How much?". "Can we deliver?" comes later.

      There are exceptional companies, but Hacking Team is not one of them - a personal opinion based on reading much of the leaked data (without questioning it's authenticity).

      "You want the moon? Didn't you see page 27 of our latest brochure [sound of keyboard, then printer] I'll send you another copy in a minute".

      Addendum - a re-read of the referenced article says nothing about Boeing, though it may be the parent company. The actual leaked documents say nothing about attacking the networks of ordinary people.

  • by Zanadou ( 1043400 ) on Monday July 20, 2015 @04:22AM (#50143607)
    [obvious sarcasm] Well, it's absolutely fine by me; after all, they're on our side, right? It's not like it couldn't be used against us, huh? Anyway, I've done nothing wrong, so I've got nothing to fear!! {insert happy emoji} [/obvious sarcasm]
  • by T.E.D. ( 34228 ) on Monday July 20, 2015 @05:26AM (#50143753)

    My wifi is near unusable at the extremes of my own house. When I go outside, I can't usefully hitch to it more than a few feet from the house. Any drone that wants to inject something would have fly really close.

    From what I can dig up, where I live in the US I own the air over my house up to at least 80 feet [slate.com] from the ground (possibly as much as 500). So I'd be well within my rights to shoot down any drone that could come close enough to hook to my wifi. Unless of course they have a subpenoa, but those have to be served, at which point I already know so the drone is kinda pointless.

    I'm wondering how tough it would be to develop anti-drone devices that are smart enough to not kill birds and bats.

    In fact, you'd think a better and cheaper idea would be to just send someone with said injection device in their pocket to the person's front door posing as a magazine salesman or Jehova's Witness or something. Or better yet, just mail the injection device to the victim. If its small enough to put in a drone, you can probably find a way to slip it into a piece of cardboard or in the packing material for a package or something.

    • In fact, you'd think a better and cheaper idea

      The last thing a military contractor want to hear is about cheaper alternatives to their expensive toys.

      • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

        The last thing a military contractor want to hear is about cheaper alternatives to their expensive toys.

        "The first rule of government spending: Why build one when you can build two at twice the price?"

        My favorite line from Contact [wikipedia.org]

    • Right now, every case of drone destruction has ended with the shooter loosing in court. The FAA still regulates drones as unmanned aerial vehicles, per their rules it's just like shooting at a manned vehicle.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      My wifi is near unusable at the extremes of my own house. When I go outside, I can't usefully hitch to it more than a few feet from the house. Any drone that wants to inject something would have fly really close.

      Unless the drone has the ability to transmit at much higher power than your average access point would.

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        My wifi is near unusable at the extremes of my own house. When I go outside, I can't usefully hitch to it more than a few feet from the house. Any drone that wants to inject something would have fly really close.

        Unless the drone has the ability to transmit at much higher power than your average access point would.

        High power is not useful for maintaining a connection unless both stations have it. The drone may use high power to overcome interference or low signal levels but without corresponding high power

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      Yes but if your WiFi enabled device had a much larger antenna you could use at much greater distances from the transmitter. Of course if you have a few trees about then that's plenty of water to stop the signal dead so that drone does need something close to line of sight.
      They probably plan to land these things on rooftops near the desired transmitter and hope nobody sees them coming in.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      If you were building/refitting a house, would there be any major disadvantages to installing a Faraday cage in the walls to block RF? You would lose the ability to listen to portable radios or TVs without plugging in to a wall socket. Your mobile phone wouldn't be able to make calls unless your provider supported calling over wifi or you bought a femotocell. Radio controlled clocks wouldn't work.

      There would be a number of advantages. Much less congestion in the 2.4GHz band. Privacy. Protection from governme

      • by Agripa ( 139780 )

        The disadvantage is that it is difficult to do and adds cost. Not only do surfaces need to be shielded but this has to be done with no seams because they will act as slot antennas compromising whatever shielding is used.

    • My wifi is near unusable at the extremes of my own house. When I go outside, I can't usefully hitch to it more than a few feet from the house. Any drone that wants to inject something would have fly really close.

      The point of doing this from a drone is that it'll have unhindered line of sight to the target wifi network. Once you have line of sight, it's just a matter of cranking up the signal (both transmit and received) with a directional antenna until you can hear and be heard by the wifi router. With

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Monday July 20, 2015 @05:39AM (#50143781)

    Wired or GTFO. the only thing I permit on the wifi network is facebooking. I encourage them to do it on the wifi. Do all your personal crap on it. But the company servers, etc... not connected to the wifi. You want to talk to those... plug yourself in with an eithernet cable.

    Where the NSA will start creeping me out again is when they get little robots that can scurry between my walls and link into the ethernet using a little rodent sized drone.

    • Another handy advantage to moving away from 10base5 and 10base2! Much trickier to open and tap a bunch of twisted pairs; and the system will not be happy with having two devices on the same cable unless your spybot is quite unobtrusive in any sniffing and spoofing it does. Vampire tapping coax would be much easier to automate with reasonable simplicity and reliability and the system is intended to work with multiple devices on the same wire.
  • Spyware for Spyware (Score:4, Interesting)

    by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Monday July 20, 2015 @05:57AM (#50143833)

    Is it just me, or did anyone else get a chuckle over the irony that spyware is being considered to deploy spyware.

    Unfortunately regardless of stated end-use, damn near every drone deployed in the future will be gathering intel of some kind that offers far more benefit to the organization deploying it than the target. It's merely the world we live in, and people gladly give up that privacy in exchange for convenience or "security".

    It will be interesting walking down to the corner of Liability Ave and Lawsuit St where all the action will be when more and more data mines are created while security around those data mines takes a backseat with predictable results. You thought your credit card number getting hacked was inconvenient..

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sounds more and more to me like these "Hacking Team" criminals need to spend a few years in prison for violations of the European privacy laws. Does not the European Union also have laws about companies who's products and practices have no legal uses and only facilitate criminal behavior?

  • and the paper was presented at DEFCON https://www.defcon.org/images/... [defcon.org]
  • Not a fan of Hacking Team but the story seems more heavy breathing than actual threat. It would, no doubt, be bad if our law enforcement agencies were to deploy spy drones. The sad thing is, despite the innuendo of "Insitu also markets its drones for law enforcement," they don't need to use such an expensive attack vector when they can just send out a van (Stingray) with a couple minimally-trained police officers and do the same thing. This device seems more suitable for environments where they mutilate, ha
  • Real hackers don't use drones - they use ultralights flying in over the Russian facilities to inject in intrusion software - oh, no... not an EMP! Ahhhhhhhh!!! The lasers! Ahhhggghggghh!!!!!!!

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