by Dan Goodin
Serial hacker Samy Kamkar has released all the hardware and software specifications that hobbyists need to build an aerial drone that seeks out other drones in the air, hacks them, and turns them into a conscripted army of unmanned vehicles under the attacker’s control.
Dubbed SkyJack, the contraption uses a radio-controlled Parrot AR.Drone quadcopter carrying a Raspberry Pi circuit board, a small battery, and two wireless transmitters. The devices run a combination of custom software and off-the-shelf applications that seek out wireless signals of nearby Parrot drones, hijack the wireless connections used to control them, and commandeer the victims’ flight-control and camera systems. SkyJack will also run on land-based Linux devices and hack drones within radio range. At least 500,000 Parrot drones have been sold since the model was introduced in 2010.
SkyJack made its debut the same week that Amazon unveiled plans to use drones to deliver packages to customers’ homes or businesses.
“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,” Kamkar asked rhetorically in a blog post published Monday. “Awesome.”