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December 15, 2016

Experts warn of jacking danger after Amazon’s first UK drone delivery

The quick and easy setup of drones makes it potentially easier for criminals to hack.

By CBR Staff Writer

Amazon made its first drone delivery in Cambridge, UK as part of a trial, where the product was delivered to the customer just 13 minutes after the order was placed.

The trial was recently launched in Cambridge where only two customers have registered for it. The drone which made the delivery flew from a custom-built fulfilment facility nearby.

The American online retail major has released several videos of the drone delivery, although the drone delivery services are currently limited to a few customers.

However, it said that it will soon extend this service to other customers within a few miles range in the Cambridge region.

The Amazon drones have been designed to lift off delivery items and land vertically. It can also fly up to an altitude of 400 ft with a range of 10 miles and can carry package with size of a shoe-box, weighing up to 2.3kg.

According to Amazon, the drones have been programmed with multiple redundancies and ‘sense and avoid’ technology. It plans to collect and use data from the trial to improve safety and reliability of the drone operations.

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However, Raj Samani, CTO EMEA, Intel Security, has issued a caution following Amazon’s drone delivery, warning about the increasing dangers of drone jacking.

“Drones continue to become more and more mainstream. Both Amazon and UPS have announced plans to deliver packages via drones. This creates a realistic target for a criminal looking to make a quick buck. Someone looking to “dronejack” deliveries could find a location with regular drone traffic and wait for the targets to appear. Once a package delivery drone is overhead, the drone could be sent to the ground, allowing the criminal to steal the package,” the CTO said.

“More and more law enforcement agencies are also turning to drones to assist in surveillance and crowd control. In a highly charged situation like a protest or active shooter situation, a police drone would be a tempting target for someone looking to remain unseen by law enforcement.”

“What makes drones potentially easier to hack is they are designed to have a quick and easy setup, often using unencrypted communication and many open ports. We predict in 2017 that drone exploit toolkits will find their ways to the dark corners of the Internet. Once these toolkits start making the rounds, it is just a matter of time before we see stories of hijacked drones showing up in the evening news. Even without a dronejacking toolkit in hand, we will begin to see an increase in drone-related incidents.”


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