Hijack a drone, its not easy to do



SHENZHEN, China, At the 3.15 Gala hosted by China’s nationwide TV network CCTV this year, white hat hackers demonstrated how they could utilize vulnerabilities to remotely hijack an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), sparking a debate among consumers about and focusing their attention on the security of smart devices. According to media reports, contestants had already demonstrated how they could break into the communications system of a UAV and successfully manipulate its flight at the GeekPwn competition on October 24, 2015.

The manufacturer of the UAV quickly responded that they had resolved the potential security vulnerability through firmware upgrades several months ago. There are always two sides to a story, even in the world of UAVs, the fastest growing market for smart devices in the past two years. How can we better prevent the potential security risks associated with UAVs?

The most common way is to provide timely updates to the system firmware or to install the latest security patch to deal with any possible vulnerability. FLYPRO, a company specializing in smart sports UAVs, provides a new way of thinking.

Flight safety is always among the most basic and important considerations for UAVs. FLYPRO’s latest smart sports UAV XEagle comes equipped with several innovative intelligent security protection technologies. Frequency hopping is a core technology which initiates a round of random hopping across a range of frequencies via a special encoding mode through hundreds of combinations within the 902-928 MHz band, making it difficult to detect the signal and hijack the XEagle. In order to hijack an XEagle UAV, hackers have to first crack the data transmission module. However, both the data transmission module and the transmission process are encrypted, and the transmission speed is customized, the combination of which goes a long way in preventing unauthorized access, allowing for safer flights and maximizing the safety and security of the user’s property.

If two control terminals on the same frequency attempt to gain control the XEagle, the UAV immediately initiates random frequency hopping in simultaneity with the control terminal that matches, preventing the other, unauthorized, terminal from controlling the vehicle.

With the rapid development of the UAV industry, the increasing popularity of the vehicles among consumers and the availability of new encryption techniques, UAV manufacturers have significantly enhanced their security technologies, making it quite difficult to hijack a UAV.