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Boeing, Hacking Team worked on drone surveillance technology

American airplane manufacturer Boeing has been working with Italian spyware firm Hacking Team on drone surveillance, capable of hacking into a mobile WiFi connection and stealing information from the end user.

Plans by both companies seemed to be in the works, with Hacking Team wanting to start conversations with engineers on size, weight, power specs and spyware system added to the drone.

"We see potential in integrating your Wi-Fi hacking capability into an airborne system and would be interested in starting a conversation with one of your engineers to go over, in more depth, the payload capabilities including the detailed size, weight, and power specs of your system," said Hacking Team in a document leaked by The Intercept.

The malicious device would be ruggedised to avoid potential issues and hidden inside the drone. The Hacking Team would provide the software, while Boeing would set up the sensor capable of broadcasting the airborne spyware.

It is not clear who started the conversation, although we would suspect Boeing is using Hacking Team as a contractor for the drone. Boeing is one of the US government’s most valuable assets, we suspect there are quite a few government contracts involving surveillance.

The Hacking Team were recently hacked, with 400GB of information stolen from the spyware systems (opens in new tab). This information has been pushed by The Intercept and WikiLeaks, both showing the scale of Hacking Team’s spyware programs and new contracts.

Drone surveillance is the next step for organisations like Hacking Team, who want a new angle to gain information on everyday citizens. We suspect several governments have thought about drones as home surveillance, capable of spying on communities and quickly responding to any issues that arise.

Source: The Intercept

David has been a technology journalist for over six years, covering a wide range of sectors. He currently researches apps, app sectors and app markets for Business of Apps, and has written for ITProPortal, RTInsights, ReadWrite, and Digital Trends.