Vulnerabilities

Hacker Finds Way To Hijack Nearly Any Drone Mid-Flight Using a Tiny Gadget

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Now you can hijack nearly any drone mid-flight because security researcher has developed a tiny gadget that is capable of hijacking most drones mid-flight and wide variety of radio- controlled airplanes, helicopters, other devices that use a popular wireless transmission protocol (DSMx). locking the owner out and giving the attacker complete control over the device.

Jonathan Andersson, who is the manager of Trend Micro’s TippingPoint DVLab division, demonstrated his new finding at PacSec security conference in Tokyo, Japan on Wednesday. Andersson calls his gadget name Icarus.

This is not the first hardware that can hijack drones mid-flight.There are already jamming devices out there that block controlling radio signals, rendering a drone useless. But they don’t give the attacker control like Icarus does. It works by exploiting DMSx, the radio signal protocol that most remote-controlled consumer drones on the market use – letting the hijacker take the full control.

The hijacking is possible because the various bits of secret information needed to pair a remote transmitter to a DSMx receiver can be extracted from the protocol or can be brute-forced.

Andersson told Ars Technica. “Further, there is a timing attack vulnerability wherein I synchronize to the target radio’s transmissions and transmit a malicious control packet ahead of the target, and the receiver accepts my control information and rejects the targets.”

Concerningly, it’s not clear whether this is an issue that could ever be fixed or patched. “My guess is that it will not be easy to completely remedy the situation … The manufacturers and partners in the ecosystem sell standalone radio transmitters, models of all kinds, [and] transmitters that come with models and standalone receivers. Only a certain set of standalone transmitters have a firmware upgrade capability, though the fix is needed on the model/receiver side.”

Icarus has not been made available for sale, but this kind of gadget could benefit law enforcement as well as people who are worried about their safety and privacy. However, same could also be used for nefarious purposes.

You can also watch the demonstration video to learn more about drone hijcking

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