Botnets Attack from the Sky

It’s now become fairly easy and cheap to make an autonomous flying model drone. Telemetry that relays information collected by a drone back to the ground has been demonstrated. Wireless hacking from equipment mounted on a flying drone has been demonstrated. Flying drones are becoming smaller, cheaper and more automated. Flying model aircraft have been produced using 3D printing. 3D printing could be used to mass produce very small, cheap, smart, flying drones that have wireless communication and hacking capability built in. While this may not be best suited to botnet control, it will likely find some unique use.

The Next Wave of Botnets Could Descend from the Skies – [technologyreview.com]

Researchers are developing hacking drones that could build a wireless botnet or track someone via cell phone.

Dietrich and two students presented details of their drone, dubbed SkyNet, at the USENIX Security Conference in mid-August. They used a quadricopter—a toy that costs less than $400—to carry a lightweight computer loaded with wireless reconnaissance and attack software. They controlled the homemade with a 3G modem and two cameras that send video back to the attacker. It cost less than $600 to build.

The researchers showed that the drone can even be used to create and control a botnet—a network of compromised computers. So instead of controlling a botnet via a command-and-control server on the Internet—a common technique that can lead investigators back to the operator—the hackers can issue commands via the drone. This method creates an “air gap”—the weak spot represented by a wireless network—that could prevent investigators from identifying those responsible for an attack.

WASP: The Linux-powered flying spy drone that cracks Wi-Fi & GSM networks – [geek.com]

The Black Hat Security Conference and DEFCON bring together the world’s professional hackers, security researchers, goverment representatives, journalists, and just about anyone who thinks of themselves as a hacker. They listen to talks about security, show off the latest novel hacks, and generally share information about the state of computer security.

Every year there’s a highlight to the conferences, and this year it looks like that highlight may be a flying drone, or unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). This drone is called the Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform, or WASP. It’s an ex-U.S. Army spy drone measuring over 6-feet in length and wingspan that has been modified to make it more useful for hackers in our built-up, communication-heavy urban environments.

SkyNET: A 3G-Enabled Mobile Attack Drone and Stealth Botmaster – [usenix.org]

Abstract
SkyNET is a stealth network that connects hosts to a botmaster through a mobile drone. The network is comprised of machines on home Wi-Fi networks in a proximal urban area, and one or more autonomous attack drones. The SkyNET is used by a botmaster to command their botnet(s) without using the Internet. The drones are programmed to scour an urban area and compromise wireless networks. Once compromised, the drone attacks the local hosts. When a host is compromised it joins both the Internet-facing botnet, and the sun-facing SkyNET. Subsequent drone flights are used to issue command and control without ever linking the botmaster to the botnet via the Internet. Reverse engineering the botnet, or enumerating the bots, does not reveal the identity of the botmaster. An analyst is forced to observe the autonomous attack drone to bridge the command and control gap. In this paper we present a working example, SkyNET complete with a prototype attack drone, discuss the reality of using such a command and control method, and provide insight on how to prevent against such attacks.

SEE ALSO:
Homebrew UAV
Personal Aerial Drones
Hummingbird Drones
Micro Robot Dragonfly
Jonathan Livingston Robot
First Printed Aircraft

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