Rabbit-hole was created in order to provide a community environment to those individuals working on the fringes of existing UAV communities. Rabbit-hole.org is for project/ideas that may not be tolerated or understood by the common hobbyist. That being said, let me make a very important point clear: We DO NOT support or condone any illegal activity. Some ideas presented on rabbit-hole MAY have potential illegal applications, but they also have legal applications as well. We do not tolerate discussions supporting or related to the commission of actual illegal activities.
We are two guys with backgrounds in computer security. When we get bored, it’s almost always a recipe for trouble.
This recipe started cooking back in October of 2009 and the results were something we call the Wireless Aerial Surveillance Platform. It’s an autonomous Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that we built in our garage with onboard war-driving gear, among other things.
It didn’t take long before we decided Wi-Fi networks weren’t enough. So we added Bluetooth, Cellular, and imaging capabilities that we can easily add and remove based on our needs. It all plugs into an onboard USB hub, so the possibilities are infinite.
Oh, and we’re not Dutch. Mike (a.k.a. RedQueen) lives in Indiana. Rich (a.k.a. WhiteQueen) lives in Illinois. We’re Midwest, corn-fed Americans. Not that there’s anything wrong with being Dutch.
Our goals were relatively simple. We wanted it to be cheap enough that we wouldn’t go broke building it. Not wanting to scratchbuild every component, it needed to use as much off-the-shelf equipment as possible. It needed to fly long enough to be able to do something interesting. One person should be able to load it in and out of a station wagon without any special equipment. Finally, and most importantly, we wanted anyone to be able to follow in our footsteps without needing to be a PhD, electrical engineer, or aeronautical engineer.
The airframe is a surplus U.S. Army target practice drone. A DIY Drones “ArduPilot” (based on the popular Arduino) controls the avionics. An onboard Via Epia Pico ITX PC with a Via C7 500 MHz CPU with 1 GB RAM, running the Backtrack 4 suite provides the “surveillance” capabilities. It communicates with a ground station for real-time tracking, payload interaction, flight operations, and data download. An ArduStation in the base station receives the telemetry data. The base station allows us to establish a Secure Shell link via a PPP tunnel. Additionally, it can serve as a network router for connecting additional workstations to the payload system. The UAV also contains an 4G connection, giving the aircraft onboard Internet connectivity. This connection allows the operator to control the payload from anywhere in the world — including mobile devices. It also allows for processor-intensive applications, such as WPA attacks and password cracking, to be offloaded securely in real-time to a remote computing powerhouse utilizing CUDA technology, for mind-blowing performance.
Altogether, the UAV weighs approximately 13 pounds, with a length of 76 inches and a wingspan of 67 inches. Its flight time is approximately 30-45 minutes, with a maximum estimated altitude of around 22,000 feet. It flies a preprogrammed set of GPS coordinates, while collecting data, and returns to base. We can also interrupt the course, and cause the UAV to “loiter” around an interesting target, allowing us more time to investigate.
|Mike Tassey is a security consultant to Wall Street, and the US Intelligence Community. He spent the majority of his 16 year information security career in support of the Dept. of Defense (both in uniform and out) and now does security consulting for global companies and government. His interests include martial arts, lolcats, danger and putting large things in small airplanes.||Rich Perkins is an avid radio control enthusiast and a senior security engineer supporting the U.S. Government. He has had a 20 year Information Technology career including programming, Enterprise Administration, and Information Security. Hobbies include hiking, SCUBA diving, R/C, computers and electronics, as well as a penchant for voiding warranties.|