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Men build small flying spy drone that cracks Wi-Fi and cell data


Built by Mike Tassey and Richard Perkins, the Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform (otherwise known as the WASP) is a flying drone that has a 6-foot wingspan, a 6-foot length and weighs in at 14 pounds. The small form factor of the unmanned aerial vehicle allows it to drop under radar and is often mistaken for a large bird. It was built from an Army target drone and converted to run on electric batteries rather than gasoline. It can also be loaded with GPS information and fly a predetermined course without need for an operator. Taking off and landing have to be done manually with the help of a mounted HD camera, though. However, the most interesting aspect of the drone is that it can crack Wi-Fi networks and GSM networks as well as collect the data from them.

WASP_overviewIt can accomplish this feat with a Linux computer on-board that’s no bigger than a deck of cards. The computer accesses 32GB of storage to house all that stolen data. It uses a variety of networking hacking tools including the BackTrack toolset, as well as a 340-million-word dictionary to guess passwords. In order to access cell phone data, the WASP impersonates AT&T and T-Mobile cell phone towers and fools phones into connecting to one of the eleven antennas on-board. The drone can then record conversations to the storage card, and avoids dropping the call due to the 4G T-mobile card routing communications through VoIP.

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Amazingly, this was accomplished without breaking a single FCC regulation. The drone relies on the frequency band used for Ham radios to operate. Not wanting to get into legal trouble with AT&T and T-Mobile, they tested the technology in isolated areas to avoid recording phone conversations other than their own. The duo will discuss how to build the WASP at the DEFCON 19 hacking conference starting Thursday in Las Vegas.

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Buses, garbage trucks, and taxis will soon act as moving Wi-Fi hotspots in U.S. cities
Bus wi-fi

Turning pay phones into Wi-Fi stations is fine and dandy, but a startup from Portugal is taking things a step further by turning vehicles into mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. Beyond expanding wireless Internet coverage, these vehicles can also collect useful and actionable data about a city’s infrastructure.

Veniam, a startup based in Mountain View, California, has integrated its technology in more than 600 buses, garbage trucks and taxis in its original home city of Porto, Portugal. The Wi-Fi network serves about 70,000 people a month. The moving Wi-Fi network absorbs 50-80 percent of wireless Internet traffic that would have otherwise happened on cellular networks, according to MIT Technology Review.

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Light bulbs could replace your Wi-Fi router
light bulb li fi wireless internet led rgb lights

Almost everyone uses Wi-Fi every day and Bluetooth every so often. But these wireless technologies have a fatal flaw: they use radio waves to communicate. The problem with radio waves is that, although they offer decent speeds, they transmit data slowly, and the signal is often blocked or affected by equipment as simple as the microwave in your kitchen. However, a team of scientists are hard at work developing a new, extremely fast method of wireless communication, and it doesn't use radio waves; it uses light from LED bulbs.
Light-based wireless communication, coined as Li-Fi by Harald Haas at a TED talk in 2011, is a method of internet connectivity that doesn't use cables or radio waves, instead flickering the light from a special LED to transmit data just like your Wi-Fi adapter would. The technology is still being developed by researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, but it already looks like it will be more effective and more secure than traditional radio-based communication.
Wi-Fi works by spewing out radio waves in all directions around your home or business from a wireless router. When your wireless device, such as a smartphone, detects the wireless radio waves, it connects to your wireless router, which then connects you to the Internet. The idea behind Li-Fi is almost identical, but instead of wireless radio waves being sent in all directions, it instead sends light shooting out to connect to your smartphone, laptop, or other devices. You wouldn't even notice, but your LED lights would flicker at high speed, sending data all around your house.
Wi-Fi works by spewing out radio waves in all directions. Li-Fi does the same thing by flickering out light from a bulb.

The difference between Li-Fi and Wi-Fi though is that Li-Fi is much more secure. Li-Fi can only work when your device can detect the light being emitted by the Li-Fi router, meaning it will only work if you're in the same room or area the light is being emitted. This means people passing by cannot connect and piggyback off of your Internet connection. And did we mention that it's unaffected by RF-emitting equipment operating in the same room, such as a microwave or radio.
Li-Fi is also way faster; the latest Wi-Fi standard, 801.11ac, has a maximum possible speed of about 867 Megabits per second for a typical handheld. Li-Fi, meanwhile, can reach speeds up to 3.5Gbit/s per color - meaning a typical Red-Green-Blue (RGB) LED can emit speeds up to 10.5Gbit/s - more than 10 times faster than the latest Wi-Fi technology. These speeds offer a lot of potential for wireless connectivity.
What you also may not know is that light already is the most popular means to transmit data across long distances. Fiber optic cables send data as light through tiny strands of silicon. Fiber optics are the arteries of much of the modern internet, allowing fast transmissions of data around the world. Li-Fi uses light just as fiber optics do to transmit the information, but instead of maintaining it through the thin strand of fiber, it allows the light to spread out in all directions so devices all over the room can connect. 
While it may be a few years before we see this technology in our homes, the potential is impressive. Even laboratory testing behind this new Li-Fi technology is showing great promise and speeds way beyond what Wi-Fi can handle in any real-world environment. If Li-Fi continues to perform with flying colors though, the idea of having any wired internet at home may soon become a distant memory.
Of course, this also means that if you want to watch your iPad in bed, you may need to keep the light on.

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WiSee uses your Wi-Fi network to track movement like the Xbox Kinect

Developed by a team of computer science students at the University of Washington, a new form of technology called WiSee uses Wi-Fi signals within a home to detect human movement. Conceptually similar to Micrsoft's Xbox Kinect, someone living within the home could raise and lower the volume of music playing in another room or switch songs by making specific gestures in the air.
Hypothetically, it could be tied into anything that has to do with home automation. Forgot to lock the Wi-Fi connected front door deadbolt? Need to turn off all the lights in the home before going to sleep? Want to turn on the coffeemaker when you wake up in the morning? Just wave your hands in the air and WiSee figures it out. 
To accomplish gesture translation using a home's wireless network, the research team created a receiver that constantly measures variations in the frequency of a home's wireless signals. Not just limited to the home's router, the receiver also measures signal variation between other devices in the home like laptops, smartphones, tablets and other Internet-connected tech. 
When someone moves within the home, the receiver watches how the signals change. This pattern of changes is called a "Doppler frequency shift." While these changes are very small, they were noticeable enough for the research team to develop an algorithm to detect and interpret the changes. Specifically, the WiSee system can detect nine different full-body gestures and these gestures can be linked to specific home automation functions. Regarding accuracy, the team was able to achieve a 94 percent success rating when testing the system 900 times within a two-bedroom apartment as well as an office space. 
Speaking about the WiSee system, team member Qifan Pu said "This is the first whole-home gesture recognition system that works without either requiring instrumentation of the user with sensors or deploying cameras in every room. By analyzing the variations of these signals over time, we can enable full-body gestures that go beyond simple hand motions."
The receiver has been built with multiple antennas to interpret up to five different users all at the same time. In addition, it's impossible to activate the receiver without performing a specific gesture sequence first. This acts as a form of password protection and eliminates the possibility of someone activating the system by accident. After the unlocking gesture is performed, the receiver hones in on the general location of the user and looks for gestures to interpret.
The team is continuing the test the WiSee system in multiple environments and will likely tweak the system to improve performance over time. Assuming the concept proves to be a success, the team will present the technology at the MobiCom 2013 in Miami, Florida at the end of September. Members of the project team have worked on similar tracking projects in partnership with Microsoft Research, but those projects focused on tracking movement using radiation from electrical wires and sound waves. However, this is the first project that allows gesture tracking without any hardware located in the same room as the user.

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