A security researcher Samy Kamkar has created a modified hacking drone that he says can hijack other flying drones made by one of the industry’s leading manufacturers, Parrot.
Samy Kamkar is the same man who once convicted of creating the Samy computer worm that knocked out MySpace back in 2005. Now he is devoting his tech skills to legit cyber-security research. His latest creation is the drone-hacking drone. He created a drone hacking platform called SkyJack using readily available Parrot AR.Drone, a Raspberry Pi circuit board and an open-source software.
SkyJack uses WiFi signal to detect other Parrot drones in its range. It then injects WiFi packets into the victim drone’s connection, disconnecting it from its original remote controller, and taking it under control. The flying hacker is relatively cheap and quite simple to build. Actually it makes the other drones flying in its range behave like zombie drones.
“My instructions are pretty detailed. I’ve made the code entirely free and open source, and fortunately all the technology is so low-cost and easy to acquire (less than $400 for all of it, including your very own drone) that to put it all together from my instructions would take someone under an hour if they were familiar with Linux,” says Kamkar.
The SkyJack drone was made more as a proof-of-concept than a practical tool. But it is only a question of time before a similar technique is used to hack into a broader set of targets than just intercepting them.
“Misuse of the camera can raise privacy concerns, because unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can traverse property boundaries easily and quickly,” said Matthew Peacock and Michael Johnstone, of Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) School of Computer and Security Science, who tested Kamkar’s system.
“The misuse of small UAV’s such as the Parrot by criminal or terrorist elements is a potential threat to critical infrastructure”
Some people were making fun of Amazon’s Prime drones for quick package delivery saying that they can shot down the drone to get free items. But there are bigger challenges ahead for Amazon. Hope their Prime drones will not be susceptible to such attacks. But are we ready for such complex technology?
”Today Amazon announced they’re planning to use unmanned drones to deliver some packages to customers within five years. Cool!” Kamkar said.
“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.”
Meanwhile we are leaving you with the video by Samy Kamkar explaining how it works