.The U.S. Army, curious about the potential threat and usefulness of off-the-shelf drones, brought consumer quadcopters and octocopters to the Network Integration Evaluation war games that concluded earlier this month at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, and Fort Bliss, Texas.
"During the exercise, which is used by the Army to help evaluate new technology, the drones were deployed as a swarm to simulate a threat,' writes Martyn Williams.
'Later, the Army expanded the trials to discover whether it might be able to make use of the same technology."
The results are pretty much what you'd expect:
"It has been proved that consumer [drones] can be used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, distraction tactics and, in the future, the ability to drop small munitions," said Barry Hatchett with the Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation.
New Attack Can Seize Control of DronesA new radio transmitter "seizes complete control of nearby drones as they're in mid-flight," reports Ars Technica:
From then on, the drones are under the full control of the person with the hijacking device.
The remote control in the possession of the original operator experiences a loss of all functions, including steering, acceleration, and altitude...
Besides hijacking a drone, the device provides a digital fingerprint that's unique to each craft.
The fingerprint can be used to identify trusted drones from unfriendly ones and potentially to provide forensic evidence for use in criminal or civil court cases...
Hijacks could allow law-enforcement officers to safely seize control of vulnerable drones that are endangering or interfering with first responders.
The hacks could also provide ordinary citizens with a less-draconian way of disabling a drone they believe is impinging on their property or privacy...
A patchwork of federal and state laws makes it unclear if even local authorities have the legal authority to shoot or hack an aircraft out of the sky.
XKCD once proposed solving the problem with butterfly nets, but instead this new attack is exploiting unencrypted DSMx radio signals.