Hackers’ Security Risk for Consumer Drones

Much like any devices these days, consumer drones are also prone to security threats from hackers. This was shown at a recent security conference, as reported by Recode.

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This week at the PacSec security conference in Tokyo, researchers unveiled a new device that is capable of fully commandeering radio-controlled drones by exploiting a vulnerability in the frequency-hopping systems drone makers use to obfuscate and protect their radio communication. – Read more at:

The Icarus system was demonstrated on Wednesday by Jonathan Andersson, the advanced security research group manager at Trend Micro’s TippingPoint DVLab division, reports Dan Goodin at Ars Technica. It relies on a weakness within DSMx communication, which doesn’t securely transmit the information sent between the remote and the device. – Read more:

Another way of hacking a drone is via Maldrone, according to this article.

Maldrone is a type of malware specifically aimed at UAVs and intended to hack into drones via Internet connections. Drones, after all, are essentially flying computers. As such, they’re susceptible to the same type of hacks as a laptop or smartphone. Drone hacking technology can be used to either swipe the data that the machines collect or even take over their physical control.

Livescience also reported that there are multiple ways of hacking a drone, as shown by a university’ computer security team.

A computer security team at Johns Hopkins University has found multiple ways to gain control of the small flying machines. Their research has raised concerns over the security of drones, especially as sales have continued to rise. – Read more at:

Now why would anyone want to hack a drone? Even way back in 2012, researchers were reported to have proven drones could be hacked. See our previous article: When Drones Fall Prey to Terrorists’ Trap

The reason to hack a drone would be like any other reason people hack,” says Peter Singer, director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at Brookings Institution, a think-tank based in Washington DC. “It might be to cause an act of terror, an act of mischief, to carry out some kind of crime, or the “white hat” type, to show that it can be done in order to warn others of the vulnerabilities.” Read more:

Consumer drones have grown popular not only among hobbyists who enjoy sending off flying machines via remote control, but also marketing people or social event planners eager to boost their businesses with drone photography services.

Police departments as well as journalists have joined the growing league of drone fans who realize the benefits of utilizing drones in their respective lines of work.

One hacker showed that government drones for first responders, police and the military could be vulnerable during another security conference held early this year, Wired reported.

A security researcher has shown that at least one model of those government-ready flying machines has serious security vulnerabilities that could allow it to be hacked from more than a mile away, taken over by a rogue operator, or knocked out of the sky with a keystroke.

At the RSA security conference in San Francisco […] security researcher Nils Rodday [showed] how flaws in the security of a $30,000 to $35,000 drone’s radio connection [allowed] him to take full control over the quadcopter with just a laptop and a cheap radio chip connected via USB. – Read more:

Terrorists are reported to have started using drones for their sinister plots, so the possibility that they could hack other drones especially those operated by government forces is not far-fetched.

Hence, this is a challenge for drone manufacturers and security professionals to come up with foolproof drone security systems to thwart such risks.

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