Can You Hack a Police Drone? This Guy Says He Can.

For fun or to cause harm...


When lawmakers and privacy advocates talk about drone use by police, the conversation usually centers around what kind of policy will protect the privacy of citizens but also allow law enforcement officers to protect people. But security researcher Nils Rodday may have discovered a problem with police drones that hasn't gotten much play: They're easily hackable.

As Rodday explained recently to Wired, "you can send a command to the camera, to turn it to the wrong side so they don't receive the desired information…or you can steal the drone, all the equipment attached to it, and its information."

It's as easy as exploiting the drone's wifi connection or radio protocol, says Rodday. He presented his findings at the RSA Security Conference in San Francisco this week. (Here are his presentation slides.)

For more on civilian drone use, click below to watch "Drone Boom: Why Drones Aren't Just for Dropping Bombs Anymore."

NEXT: How Risk-Taking by the Wealthy Helps the Middle Class

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  1. Uhm, well duh, then the authorities will just ban hacking case closed.

  2. That's awesome. Can I get one to film my wedding party?

    1. I doubt your guests want a *police* drone filming their revelry, but there are probably local photographers who have drones, yeah.

    2. Get a DJI Phantom 3. I have one.

      Amazing right out of the box. Beams Hi Def video back to my iPhone in realtime so I don't have to stay line of sight.

      1. First question on Amazon. "Does it have the capacity to lift an infant"

  3. Related. What could go wrong.


  4. I looked at the draft saying $5331 , I didn't believe that?my? ad father in law realey receiving money in there spare time online. . there great aunt had bean doing this 4 only about fifteen months and a short time ago repayed the loans on their cottage and bought a great new Bugatti Veyron . visit this site ?

    +_+_+_+_ http://www.moneypath60.com

  5. Poor Digi. I used to work for them in a past life and they make some very cool hardware. The problem for them is that knuckle heads like the drone company buy components from Digi and then fuck up. It isn't Digi's fault, but their name gets dragged into the story.

    When I was there, there was a story about Digi components being used in IED's. They were pretty blameless in the story, but the local media hyped it big time.

    1. "Prosecutors say Digi sold the radio devices to Singapore companies who claimed they were working on a big telecom project.

      But an indictment unsealed Tuesday makes it clear that Digi was duped.

      The Singapore firms illegally resold the modules -- at a profit -- to a conspirator in Iran, in direct violation of U.S. trade restrictions. "

      well i'm sure iran had some beneficent intent with the items and had no connection to the fact that they somehow ended up in IEDs.

    1. I so thought it was going to be this clip

    2. "There's too many garbage files!"

      1. He means porn right?

        1. *** types randomly and furiously ***

    3. you STEM majors are already over my head

      1. You should contemplate the generals.

        1. Even the generals are confused!!

    4. Lorraine Bracco huh. Nice. Looks incredibly silly.

    5. So that's the pathogen the FBI thinks may be on the San Berdoo government employee's terrorist's phone? That's some scary stuff right there. (And I thought the hacking clip would involve Graham Chapman and a Black Knight.)

  6. This is an issue that might limit the po-po's use of drones a bit. While the drones themselves are cheap, hardening them will drive up the cost. If they want them reliable, they'll have fewer of them. (Until they convince your politicians to raise your taxes to afford these indispensable child saving devices.)

    1. Jeez, you don't think the cops and the legislature can get on top of this just by making it illegal to hack police drones? Duh!

  7. Maybe a kickstarter campaign to create a hack that would be able to remotely turn on a cop's body cam? Even better would be to turn it on and auto stream it to the cloud.

    I think cops would be even more worried about having their body cam video streamed to the public than they would be about one of their drones being hacked.

    "Sorry, I really wish I could prove that the perp was a clear danger to the public so I had to take him down, but my body cam 'malfunctioned'"

    "That is OK, the camera was hacked and the video has been streamed to YouTube"


  8. The slide show indicates they are using "802.11 WiFilink (WEP)". How clueless about security do you have to be to use WEP?

    1. Government is the idiots with guns who tell the experts how to do their job. They're clueless by definition.

      1. It occurs to me that drones are the first example of artificial intelligence taking over running the machines. Now that they've made computers smarter than cops, they can move on to trying to make computers smarter than flatworms and rats and baboons and someday, who knows?, they may make them smarter than human beings.

  9. OT: Fiduciary Rule May Censor Financial Broadcasters

    "this Obama rule will kill the Middle Class and below ability to access personal advice."

    Looks like yet another assault on the 1A.

    1. More like christmas for lawyers.

    2. Won't allow me to view steal the article. Fuck Forbes!

  10. Looking at the comments that have happened in my absence, I would say there's certainly proof that hacks will drone.

    HA! Beat that, n00bs.

    1. I'm surprised you directed it toward the commentariat, and not the staff who are presently posting TRUMPSTRAVAGANZA! and the latest bullshit happening on adult daycare college campuses, to the exclusion of much else.

  11. Someday a police drone will drop a flash bang device into a daycare, and instead of hearing, "procedures followed -- a bomb was dropped" we'll hear: "our drone has hacked!!"

  12. Meh. When I can hack Crusty's anal probe, that would make things interesting.

    1. You are full of shit.

  13. Erdogan seizes Turkey's opposition, most widely circulated newspaper.

    "Police have erected fences in front of the headquarters of Turkey's largest-circulation newspaper a day after they used tear gas to storm the building and enforce a court-ordered seizure".


    I'd say, "So much for moderate Islamism", but it looks like rival factions within the Islamist movement rather than a struggle between Islamism and secularism.

    I believe in the "broken windows" theory of government censorship. Let the government come after people for insulting Ataturk or talking about the Armenian genocide, and pretty soon they start thinking it's okay to come after you for insulting the government.

    1. ""I'd say, "So much for moderate Islamism", but it looks like rival factions within the Islamist movement rather than a struggle between Islamism and secularism.""

      I'd say it looks like "government". The islamists are incidental.

      I'd say it would hurt their EU membership issues, but then again, what European countries wouldn't want the same ability to censor critics? They frequently make nice sounding words about press-freedom, but at the same time avoid creating specific requirements for states to adhere to.

      As the link puts it, "Turkey is an important diplomatic and economic partner for the EU, and the bloc appears willing to overlook Turkey's shortcomings in the area of press freedom ? as well as basic democratic rights and freedoms ? to preserve this partnership""

      1. I'd say it would hurt their EU membership issues

        I think that ship sailed a while back.

        1. yeah, but the pretense still exists, and turkey is expected to comply in a variety of ways with EU demands re: security, trade, votes in UN; I agree its "just a pretense" and they'll never let millions of turks access to labor markets in the EU, but keeping them in some halfway house seems to be the preferred status quo.

    1. Uh. I just lost 5 seconds of my life for THAT? Not to mention all the electrons that were harmed.

      1. In related news, "up is down". Spread the word to all your friends.

  14. Everybody knows what it was like in the Wild West; gunslingers everywhere, and you could get shot for looking sideways at the wrong guy. We have gun control to thank for reigning in that aspect of society. But at the time, how did it feel? It just felt normal -- as it always does.

    Well, today, we are in the Wild West of technology; programmers are not subject to any sort of licensure, which means that anyone can just pick up a compiler (sometimes provided for free, often by people with subversive anti-authoritarian views) and have at it. The result is that our government is hampered in the ability to perform its core function: protecting us from the terrorists.

    That is not a world in which any sane person wants to live. Now, much is made of privacy, but only by those who have something to hide; and if you have something to hide, we should be suspicious of you, and rightly so. Isn't it about time we ended this technological Wild West, by enacting sensible controls over the use of technology? It's not like the Constitution grants a right to unrestricted use of wi-fi.

    1. throw in a few mentions of how technology oppresses minorities and women and you have a decent salon-parody going

    2. The common image that people have of the Wild West is a myth, created by sensationalist fiction writers.

      1. -1 Blood Meridian

        1. You are Unforgiven.

  15. Them techies and hackers, they're just doin' all kinds of nefarious things. I figger they're tryin ta slow down ma Windas 98 PC with alla that pron and stuff. Can't play solitaire naw r vizzit AOL without gettin' alla them popups.

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