Personal Liberty Poll
At least for as long as it remains legal, here’s one way to deal with any pesky unmanned aerial vehicles that invade your personal airspace: hack them and make them do your bidding.
A hacker named Samy Kamkar has developed a set of drone hardware, along with the software to control it, that the DIY crowd can use to fabricate a drone that will hunt down other unmanned aerial vehicles, hack them and – as ArsTechnica phrases it – “turns them into a conscripted army of unmanned vehicles under the attacker’s control.”
Not that we know what any of this means, but here’re the specifics:
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.
Judging from enthusiasts’ Internet comments, the new development already has initiated a cat-and-mouse game between those who would seek to use the SkyJack as a hacker drone and those who would seek to hack the SkyJack itself and turn its own powers against it.
The device operates by locating other drones in a defined geographic area, detecting and pinpointing the unique “address” that identifies the source of the wireless signal that each broadcasts in order to receive input. It then deploys an application that hacks the “victim” drone via the wireless network, separating its line of communication with whatever device is remotely controlling it, and reassigning it as a “slave” device that follows the same instructions intended for the SkyJack drone.
Of course, there are other ways to handle unwanted drones that fly over your property – like shooting them for a bounty.