Lets hack a drone….and make an army!

Parrot Drone

In this day and age drones are now more easily available for the public and will soon be flying around everywhere for everyone. We remember that a couple years ago Amazon showed that they were working a drone delivery service. Whether or not you have one for personal use, military, or even commercial its just a flying computer and it can be hacked! Sammy Kamkar posted in a blog back on Dec 2, 2013 about a program called SkyJack. SkyJack is a drone that is equipped with with a raspberry Pi, a USB battery, a wireless transmitter, aircrack-ng, node-ar-drone, node.js, and the custom sky jack software. The pi is running separately from the drone and flies around looking for specific MAC address that are reserved for drones. Once the signal has been acquired a de-authorization request with aircrack-ng. The flying drone then connects to the other drone using javascript. If there is a camera on the other drone, then that can be streamed live to the owner of the malicious drone via a wireless chip in the PI. You don’t have to have the hacking software on the drone, run it on the ground and grab drones out of the sky.

A more famous example was back in 2011 when Iran brought done a US surveillance drone by spoofing the GPS location. They clam that the data sent to the drone confused it and made it land at what it thought was home base. But instead it ended up in Iran.

Even if SkyJack no longer works it will not be the last hacking attempt on civilian drones. Given a new piece of technology with restrictions the first thing people want to do is break it and make it do something else. In Colorado there was a proposal to have a Hunting License to shoot down drones. This now prompts an arms race between hackers and drone security personnel.

-Evan O’Malley