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Aug 06, 2013 09:17 AM EDT

Wisconsin Law Student Creates Spy Device for Just $57

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Brendan O'Connor, a 27-year-old law student at the University of Wisconsin and a security researcher has created a tiny spy computer that can track the movement of everyone on the street, for just $57.

This 'terrifyingly easy system' has Raspberry Pi models (cheap, programmable mini-computers) in small plastic boxes connected to a command center.

Creepy Distributed Object Locator, or 'CreepyDOL,' can tell a person's movement including whether he recently visited a coffee shop, what websites he browsed, if he purchased anything online and can acquire the unique connection identifier of his iPhones and iPads and even his email addresses and pictures.

"Actually it's not hard,' said O'Connor. 'It's terrifyingly easy. It could be used for anything depending on how creepy you want to be."

Describing the mechanism of the device, O'Connor said that the sensors in the model gather all the wireless traffic released by every nearby wireless device, including smart phones and tablets. The boxes are then connected to a command and control system that uses a data visualisation system to decipher what the sensors picked up.

The experiment which was first conducted on himself, showed that Mr O'Connor could track the websites he browsed when he connected to a public Wi-Fi; could access the unique identifier connected to his mobile, plus received huge amounts of unencrypted information about the places he had been to.

"If you have a wireless device (phone, iPad, etc.), even if you're not connected to a network, CreepyDOL will see you, track your movements, and report home," O'Connor said.

These small CreepDOL boxes can be hidden under a table, or strewn around city streets without people's notice.

An individual can spy on anyone if he places these sensor boxes near the places a person visits. To build a personal CreepyDOL, all a person needs is Raspberry Pi Model A computer, over-the-counter sensors, WiFi adapters, and command and control system.

 "I haven't done a full deployment of this because the United States government has made a practice of prosecuting security researchers,' O'Connor said. 'Everyone is terrified."

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