AR.Drone surveillance with 3G connection instead of wifi

Researchers from the computer science department at the Stevens Institute of Technology have added a 3G-radio to an AR.Drone. Because of the mobile hookup the AR.Drone can be controlled from a greater distance than the normal wifi connection and can be maneuvred into the range of a wifi-network. It could then attack that network and gain access to the network with the onboard software. And once it has gained access it could be used to issue commands to a botnet, acting as a command-and-control-server, powered by a small solar panel. Because the attackers would dial-in to the AR.Drone through the 3G-connection and the drone would us wifi to hookup to a third party network it would be much harder to find out who was responsible for the botnet attacks. You can read further details about the SkyNET project in the paper that was presented by the researchers at the USENIX Security Conference in August. Spooky stuff if you ask me.

18 thoughts on “AR.Drone surveillance with 3G connection instead of wifi”

  1. i’ve been searching for hours to get infos on the 3g mod. i’m totally frustrated.
    how can i use 3g to control the drone?
    and don’t give me that “3g’s not fast enough” and whatever-shit. everybody wants to control over 3g, i don’t care for the latency and connection abort and so on. gimme 3g and if i crash that turd so be it.. i want to fly this from another country, you know what i mean. so is there any tutorial for braindeads on how to do this? can’t find anything..
    who cares for developing games with this? no one, are these guys for real? they have made such a great product and then are too stupid to see what the users want or what cool stuff they can do with it? this is all about spying and having fun with REALLY NEW stuff, stuff you could NOT DO BEFORE. nobody cares for remote controlling with 100m range with ipad, android or your ipod micro, geeze. THE RANGE OF THE INTERNET IS WHAT MAKES THIS FACINATING!

    where can i buy 3g mod??
    i want to control this from the browser, so everybody can just have a little flight time while at work. imagine being at work and flying a little 1000 miles away! now, that’s interesting! being at stockholm while it’s raining hard and goind a little safari in kenya with my drone! now, doing something like that would be worth some bucks just for fun!!


    1. There are legal issues involved in creating computer controlled surveillance aircraft. Connecting this drone to a PC via 3G may categorize the device as a UAV making it illegal in some countries. So to get this toy “off the ground” so to speak, the developers may have some restrictions; having said, there’s a reason why the software is open source. They probably do know what people want, they just need someone else to implement it.

  2. I am very interested in the 3g mod for the ar drone. Please let me purchace one from you

    I would like to use it for an engineering project in south lake tahoe ca

    I would like to helpoject via writing apaper oin it as well as use it in realtime

    thank you,

    chris buddecke

  3. I’ve read the whitepaper on the project and basically how they implemented the 3g was to install an SBC (single board computer) runny Debian Linux, the board received commands over the 3g data connection and connected to the drone’s ad-hoc wifi connection and passed them on. The SBC also had a GPS so you could actually make it navigate to waypoints autonomously. So really they added a second brain to the drone which translated to the original mentally deficient one.

  4. You have to keep a private drone in sight at all times and within 400 feet max range(FAA law) . So why use 3G when much cheaper options are easy to have.

  5. It is against the law in the USA to use a drone that is out of sight or more than 400 feet away. So there is no need for 3G.

    1. This is the funniest thing I have ever heard!
      US army is flying drones around the world, spying on goverments and playing with the third world countries. And the fact that it is illegal flying drone in the US, makes me laugh so hard. Some technologies will not allowed for consumers I guess. Thank god for internet and all the smart people that make all the things possible!!!! Thank you internet!

  6. THE RANGE OF THE INTERNET IS WHAT MAKES THIS FASCINATING! I absolutely agree…. In Italy I dont think there are such 400 feet or whatever distance restrictive law… so… I really will buy a 3g controlled drone if available… that’s the real deal, augmented reality games its crap compared to this. And I also dont care about hacking wireless network or do other illegal stuff… just fly this thing high over my city would be really really cool… pls someone develop this and money will flow into his account for sure!!!

  7. The parrot ar drone can be controlled by a 3g connection using this way download either one of these apps my3g or unrestrictor and add your drone’s app to these apps thats way u can control it throught 3g

    These 2 apps i mentioned is using to fake apps that using wifi connection to use 3g connection

    Tell us here in the comments if u succeed guys

    Good luck!

  8. I don’t have a drone and I am thinking about buying one. About the 3g thing, I was wondering how much weight these babies can carry. If they can carry an iPhone, for instance, you could attach a jailbroken phone running VNC server and remotely access it from your computer. It could work, I suppose. Has anyone tried that?

    1. on this point – i am sure if you dismantled the iphone and removed the screen – and just used the motherboard – you could also remove the speakers – dump the case etc – and it would be no heavier than the RX mod which uses a yellow jacket.

      I am very interested in making a simple 3G hack for this – although in one of the earlier posts it mentions using 3G unrestrictor? not sure how this helps as the drone connects using wifi – 3g unrestrictor wont change the way the drone connects to the phone.

      however if you connected an iphone 3gs to the drone and then could get a ‘ remote desktop of the iphone’ then connect to the iphone using 3g – this would also allow the use of the geolocation of the iphone – and use find my iphone if the drone ever got lost. It would also allow control of the drone – as the iphone would be running the drone control app.

      If some one would like to collaborate with me on this i have a few iphones laying about – can program – can hack – experienced in linux and want to have a bit of fun. Let me know and we can chat about it.

      Alternatively if some one wants to help – i am sure we can sell this as a mod!

      1. @ matt, if your still down for this , count me in. its my dream to fly one of these bad boys from one end of my city to the other, i think the stripped iphone might be the best cause as the mother board cand be more than 75 grams, and would allow for a huge amount of posibilitys.

      2. I’m in too, I think I have an old 3GS in my truck, and I want to buy a drone in the next month sometime, so until then, I can work on the connections and lowering the weight of the 3GS, maybe even connecting the battery to the Drone’s…

        This would also be a great hack to use in combination with a power hack to make it last long enough to matter at more than wifi ranges.

        email me, I’ll set up a workspace in one of my forums.

        1. Im down as well, i bought my drone 2 weeks ago and i want more. way more distance. looking to create a 3g mod or this so called
          “iphone mod”. Lets get to it

          1. I am very interested in helping develop a 3g drone as well. Anyone who wants to discuss developing a 3g drone please log into IRC server on channel #drone3

      3. Hi Matt,
        Any news about the 3g drone connection? I am buying the Parrot Drone 2.0 in the next week so I am in, in the 3g “project’ if it’s still ON…I am from Romania and there we don’t have any restrictions about flying distance….

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