Researchers from the Stevens Institute of Technology have found a new way to take down unsecured wireless networks; a flying aerial drone in a shape like a toy helicopter. However, it is not just an ordinary helicopter; it is a fully computerized toy which attacks unsecured wireless networks with the help of its built-in Linux system. It is named as SkyNET.
The main objective behind the creation of SkyNET is to locate unsecured wireless networks, which are used for spamming, hacking and denial of service. After locating such computers, SkyNET drags them into botnets. Botnets are used to send spam e-mail messages, spread virus, attack servers and computers, etc.
SkyNET helps you to take full control of the botnet (a network of compromised computers) with the help of the drone. Once the botnet is controlled, you can now give commands through the drone instead of controlling the wireless networks through the Internet with command-and-control server.
Building the whole set-up for SkyNET requires a quadrocopter (an aircraft that is lifted and propelled by four fans, which support the weight of the aircraft), 3G modem, GPS receiver, modified Linux computer and Wi-Fi cards. According to researchers, the cost for all the materials combined together will be around $600. But Sven Dietrich, the computer science professor has informed that they are trying to make it less expensive.
According to CNet, specifically SkyNET is “a Parrot AR.Drone quadrocopter modded with a lightweight Linux computer, 3G mobile broadband connection, GPS receiver, and a pair of Wi-Fi cards-one for controlling the drone and one for attacking wireless networks,"
"The devious beauty of SkyNET is that by controlling the Botnet from a drone rather than an Internet connection, the botmaster is harder to track down. To catch the bad guy you'd have to figure out that a drone is involved, spot the drone, and follow it back to its owner (assuming the black hat goes to pick it up). Either that or catch it and do a full-blown forensic investigation to figure out who made it," CNet explains
Researchers have demonstrated SkyNET successfully. They have also warned companies that the only way to protect their network from SkyNET is by securing their router using password and keeping track of new connections and by allowing lockdown of wireless access point if they detect any other devices.