A research team at the University of Waterloo has developed a drone-powered tool that uses Wi-Fi networks to penetrate barriers.
The Wi-Peep device, which can fly close to buildings, uses the WiFi network of the residents to quickly identify and locate any WiFi-enabled devices.
In a presentation at the 28th Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking, the study was discussed.
DARPA plans to send satellites to the “spaceship graveyard”. Wi-Peep uses what researchers call courteous Wi-Fi. Smart devices instantly respond to contact attempts from any device within range, even if a network is password proctected, as per University of Waterloo.
The Wi-Peep sends several messages to a target device while it is in the air, analysing the reaction time of each message to pinpoint the device’s location to within a metre.
According to Dr. Ali Abedi, an adjunct professor of computer science, “Wi-Peep devices are like lights in the visible spectrum, and the walls are like glass.”
“Similar technology could be used to track the movements of security guards within a bank by tracking the location of their phones or smartwatches. Similarly, a thief could identify the location and type of smart devices in a home, including security cameras, laptops, & smart TVs, to find a good candidate for a break-in. Also, operating the device from a drone means it can be used quickly & remotely without much of a chance of the user being detected.
$20 worth of cheap components
It was developed by Abedi’s team using a drone that was buyed from a store and $20 worth of inexpensive parts.
We became aware that this kind of attack was feasible as soon as the Polite WiFi flaw was found, according to Abedi.
We must fundamentally close the Polite WiFi loophole in order to prevent our gadgets from responding to strangers, according to Abedi. “We expect that the design of next-generation protocols will be informed by our study.”
Additionally, he exhorts makers of WiFi chips to introduce an artificial, randomised variation in device reaction time.