A surveillance company has introduced a multi-million dollar vehicle allegedly capable of hacking phones from afar.
As first reported by Forbes’ Thomas Fox-Brewster Monday, the SpearHead 360 van, produced by Cyprus-based WiSpear, was on display in Europe this month at several security conferences.
Selling for between $3.5 million and $5 million, the vehicle is reportedly able to hack both Apple and Google products from as far as 500 meters away.
The SpearHead 360 relies on its 24 antennas to force phones to connect to its interceptors in order to deliver four different types of malware.
The vehicle also reportedly comes with several Android and iOS zero-day exploits – publicly-unknown vulnerabilities without a patch.
The vehicle can also be bought with a drone and a $1.2 million backpack used for surveillance on foot.
WiSpear co-founded Tal Dilian described the new product to Forbes as “a game changer.”
“This takes customers from detection all the way to full interception,” Dilian said. “I think it’s a game changer.”
The SpearHead 360 is already raising concerns among privacy advocates who fear government misuse of the powerful new system.
“Capabilities developed in some of the world’s most advanced spy agencies are being traded around the world by hundreds of these types of companies mostly comprised of ex-spooks,” Edin Omanovic, lead of the State Surveillance Programme at Privacy International, told Forbes. “Obviously it’s good for them because they get to make money, but around the world we’ve seen surveillance supposed to be used to stop crime instead being targeted against people such as activists and journalists.”
Drew Porter, founder of security company Red Mesa, told Forbes, however, that the van was unlikely to be popular among U.S. law enforcement given the price and size.
“[O]nly a few police departments could even think about affording this here in the States, which is a good thing for the privacy concerned,” Porter said.
While the SpearHead 360 may not be adopted by local police departments any time soon, miniaturized cell phone surveillance devices are already in widespread use.