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Warflying with a ESP32?


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First of all, i must explain my appreciation to the Hak5 crew. You make such great content, which is both in depth, but still understandable for us amateurs. That is a rare combination, and why i respect you all!

Now to my question:

As a beginner pentester, with only one successful wardriving session done, i was fascinated by the Hak5 Youtube instructional video by Alex Lynd on how to make a warflying drone with a ESP8266:

From one of Hak5 earlier videos (cant remember which) i was inspired to buy an "TinyPICO" from Adafruit that uses a ESP32 chip. So my first question is naturally:

Q1: Is this video instruction (and the related video "HakByte: Create a $15 WarDriving Rig to Log WiFi Data w/ the ESP8266") compatible with my ESP32 board?

And some less important questions:

Q2: Since warflying is time critical, how long do you have to hover in place in order to detect all nearby AP's? Can it be achieved with a slow fly-by? Or do i have to hover in place for several seconds? Minutes?

Q3: Since most drones communicates on the same frequencies as wifi, wont the wifi monitoring be affected?

Q4: Since PCB wifi antennas have very low gain, is it possible to remove the PCB antenna, solder on a "IPX U.FL" connector, attach a pigtail and then use a high gain antwenna like this?:


Yeah, i know, with its more then 16 inch length, it would look like im trying to compensate for something, but would it work?








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My suggestion to Q1 is that ESP32 and ESP8266 are generally not 100% compatible, so even if you could base your ESP32 project on it all you will most likely have to spend some time to make things work on the ESP32. It's much more easy to just buy something that has a ESP8266 and start there. Not much money at all either, so if you don't have any kind of ESP32 fetish then just order some ESP8266 based product. Linking that to Q4 and it would probably be a good thing to buy some ESP8266 product that has the external antenna connector onboard from factory. Attaching a 40+ cm antenna to it is perhaps not the best idea and mostly for the reason that it will be a rather big challenge to maneuver the drone with such a large antenna onboard (perhaps feasible if using drones sized like the ones that was reported as being used around the Swedish nuclear plants recently as you might know being from Sweden). Regarding Q2, just compare that to the scenario when you wardrive using a car. You generally don't need to park the car but just drive as usual. Speed will probably be a factor though for different reasons (channel hopping, etc). But, anyway, the results from the "warflying" linked to the video is kind of answering both Q3 and Q4, getting over 340 unique APs (or networks really) flying for 3 minutes with an onboard antenna is kind of a good result even if it's being made in a rather dense area where you can expect a lot of APs.

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