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December 5, 2013

Drones vulnerable to hacking

Security expert builds e-war drone that hijacks other drones.

By Ben Sullivan

A man has claimed he has made a drone that can hijack control of other drones around it.

Samy Kamkar said he is able take control of drones made by one of the leading consumer drone manufacturers, Parrot, because the company’s products do not support a way of encrypting or authenticating the wi-fi data they use.

On a blog post, Kamkar said: "Today Amazon announced they’re planning to use unmanned drones to deliver some packages to customers within five years. Cool! How fun would it be to take over drones, carrying Amazon packages…or take over any other drones, and make them my little zombie drones. Awesome.

"Using a Parrot AR.Drone 2, a Raspberry Pi, a USB battery, an Alfa AWUS036H wireless transmitter, aircrack-ng, node-ar-drone, node.js, and my SkyJack software, I developed a drone that flies around, seeks the wireless signal of any other drone in the area, forcefully disconnects the wireless connection of the true owner of the target drone, then authenticates with the target drone pretending to be its owner, then feeds commands to it and all other possessed zombie drones at my will.

"SkyJack also works when grounded as well, no drone is necessary on your end for it to work. You can simply run it from your own Linux machine/Raspberry Pi/laptop/etc and jack drones straight out of the sky."

Kamkar’s post comes in reaction to Amazon’s claim that it is planning a drone delivery service to be put in place by 2018. The service, called Amazon Prime Air, will use small, remote-controlled quadcopters to deliver packages in 30 minutes or less.

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