A new surveillance vehicle built by Cyprus-based company WiSpear, which can detect and infect devices with surveillance software at a distance, is now going on sale for between $3.5 million and $5 million. That's thanks to a plethora of in-vehicle equipment, including no fewer than 24 antennas, which can be used to pinpoint a device and force a connection via man-in-the-middle attacks. The established connection is effectively used to exploit Android and iOS zero-day vulnerabilities, as well as vulnerabilities in Windows and Mac devices. SpearHead 360, as it's marketed, has been tested at ranges of up to 1,000 meters is touted as being able to reliably work at up to 500 meters. It can also infect types of devices simultaneously. From there, controllers situated in the van have the freedom to "snoop" on multiple devices at once. After first showing the motorized spying station at ISS World and Eurosatory, company founder Tal Dilian says that interest in the technology-based solution is already high. He also notes that it's comparatively priced to the competing drone-based solutions, which makes it more appealing to customers.
However, the revelation of the new surveillance solution has raised more than a few eyebrows in the thriving personal privacy community. According to Dilian, at least two of the methods used by the surveillance technique to infect devices haven't ever been disclosed publicly. That means that there's really no way to know if any given device is vulnerable to surveillance from the new platform. The concern is that, as with other potentially invasive platforms, those in positions of authority might misuse the technology. Moreover, there's a genuine worry that unintended or abusive surveillance might take place, undermining the entire purpose of surveillance. Digital privacy has become a heated issue over the past several months but privacy is predominantly favored over surveillance.
On the other side of the equation, at least in the U.S., some security experts, such as Red Mesa's Drew Porter, point out that it's too large and expensive to be practical for most police forces. What's more, it may be entirely impractical as a solution simply because there's no real control over the signal itself. That means that it might be entirely too easy for other malicious entities to take advantage of the malware being operated by the authorities to do snooping of their own. Coupled with how big of a hot-button issue privacy protections have become, it's entirely likely that this new van and other similar solutions won't see widespread use for now.