Can Drones be Hacked?

If you love flying drones, here is one question for you – can drones be hacked? While you might love flying your favourite drone, what if someone could control it without your permission? This possibility could mean that drones could be misused easily. So, can drones be hacked?

Aerospace engineering experts have studied and revealed that not much effort is needed to hijack a drone over the United States airspace and misuse to commit any kind of terrorism act or crime.

It has been proven that a drone costing more than $80,000 could be commandeered with the help of a Global Positioning System (GPS) technology and used for any purpose. Using unencrypted GPS information for navigating purposes, drones are extremely vulnerable to hacking and these include the drones used by most police agencies as well.

How is a drone hacked?

Being a type of malware, Maldrone is aimed specifically at UAVs or unmanned aerial vehicles which make use of Internet connections and hacks into drone. Drones are flying computers and are extremely susceptible to the hacking which happens in a smartphone or laptop. The technology for drone hacking can swipe the data collected by the machine previously or control it physically.

If the hacker is able to fake a GPS signal well, then he can convince an UAV into tracking the fake signal instead of the real one allowing him to control the vehicle completely from miles away.

If criminals can hack a military drone then it can obviously become quite dangerous but what will happen if hackers can also control civilian flying robots? Many drones are already being experimented with in sectors such as rescue and search organizations, crop monitoring, surveillance by police authorities and much more and is expected to be used by online retailers and postal services too.

Experts suggest that the Federal Aviation Administration should collaborate with United State’s Homeland Security Department to regulate drones. In the aviation sector, drones are considered to be a growth industry and many new companies are trying to enter this sector. If the hurdles that are being experienced in this sector can be taken care of, then more and more drones will be taken on missions to watch over humans. However, it is being highly speculated as to what kind of reconnaissance drones will be able to do and how they will affect civil liberties as this remains a major issue for discussion still.

Negative aspect of a drone

Several privacy advocates have started arguing that this will allow any individual to purchase a drone and spy on people right in their homes and backyards. This is why it is necessary to install such procedures that drone operators are unable to use the drone for personal purposes which they have not been licensed for. If this is not achieved soon, the American public is sure to be outraged and might come up with a negative reaction towards drones very soon.

Should you worry?

While the information might seem a bit frightful, do not worry. No drones have been hacked till now, and it is only the most complex drones that could be subjected to it. For all purposes, you do not have to worry about your drone being hacked, as normal drones cannot be.

Also read: Are Quadcopters Legal?

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