A series of emails discussing plans to target Wi-Fi hotspots via ruggedized drones has come to light via WikiLeaks, uncovering possible tactics of global surveillance.
Boeing subsidiary Insitu apparently reached out to Italy's infamous Hacking Team, seeking to kit out drones with Tactical Network Injectors (TNI).
The Hacking Team's TNI platform has the ability to transplant malicious software into a Wi-Fi network by using the infected access points to pass along malware or intercept information passed along the compromised networks.
The Hacking Team showed off its miniaturized version of the TNI platform, branded the Remote Control System Galileo, or simply Galileo, during the International Defense Exposition and Conference (IDEX), which was held in Abu Dhabi in February.
Impressed by TNI hardware, Insitu allegedly asked one of its interns, Giuseppe Venneri, a graduate student from the University of California, Irvine, to reach out to the hacking team's key account manager Emad Shehata, according to email exchanges published by WikiLeaks.
"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 Galileo System," stated Venneri in an email to Shehata. "Additionally, if you have any more marketing material you are willing to share with us prior to meeting, please let us know."
Shehata informed Daniele Milan, the Hacking Team's operations manager, of interest in the group's mini TNI from a contact made at IDEX 2015, a "partner, that collaborates with a government agency." That contact was Insitu.
"They are interesting to infect the target through Wi-Fi into airborne [sic]," read an email from Shehata. "It will be a good opportunity to have a look and understand better what they need (maybe by the TNI we can meet their request) and most important topics is to check if they have some end user to present to us. Once they sign and stamp the NDA I will forward them to you, ok?"
Milan's response was "sure."
The conversation stopped there, but there isn't much else that needs to be said.