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Monetization What About Militarization

Posted by Todd Mersch on 22 October 2015

You can find an article on “monetizing” Wi-Fi almost daily, but how often do you find one that militarizes the technology? Leave it to the US Army to take fair-share socialistic radio access technology and craft a gun out of it.

Well not actually a gun – but if the headline read “The Army built a hacking program that uses Wi-Fi to connect to a drone and down it” I probably would have passed it over. The interesting takeaway from the article is the ubiquity of Wi-Fi as a Promethean Gift. For those not familiar with Greek mythology, Prometheus was a Titan who gave the gift of fire to mankind and was punished for all eternity by Zeus for his actions. A Promethean Gift is a concept taught to budding engineers as a cautionary tale: those things we create can be used both for the good we intend as well as the evil we never envisioned. It’s not that the Army’s Wi-Fi gun (which is really just a part of a new tactical training concept) is in itself a dastardly creation, but the implications of exploiting Wi-Fi connectivity can be a bit scary.

Almost everything we own today is starting to include a wireless transmitter, with Wi-Fi the most prevalent – our appliances, security systems, TVs, computers, phones and so on. Being able to disable – or worse, take over – the device can be a bit unsettling. Being a glass half full kind of guy, I’m not that worried – I for one will take the risk in exchange for the convenience afforded. However, this value equation could quickly shift if the prevalence of issues were to increase. In the end, it’s imperative that security companies as well as Wi-Fi service providers deploy solutions that give the ability to monitor, avoid and thwart the nefarious minority. Ok, off to work on my Wi-Fi gun jammer… where did I put that stack of Raspberry Pis…

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