A recent breakthrough by the Maker community may make the construction of an anti-drone “gun” as easy as Pi.
The Raspberry Pi, a cheap, credit-card sized computer can plug into regular computer monitors and other peripherals as well as a growing number of Internet of Things devices.
Makeazine, while stressing that the step-by-step instructions for a homemade drone killer are for “educational purposes,” tested the build on a Parrot AR.Drone 2.0, which relies on a Wi-Fi access point via a smartphone. Author Brent Chapman notes that the AR.Drone interface suffers from several security flaws. “The AR.Drone 2.0 is so hackable, in fact, that there are communities and competitions focused on modifying this particular drone,” he said, emphasizing that makers should only use the anti-drone gun with permission of the drone user or in a test of their own UAVs.
“This tutorial is designed to help users understand the security implications of using unprotected wireless communications,” Chapman said.
Once executed, a duo of software scripts relies on a Wi-Fi signal booster constructed from a large metal can found in most kitchens (the testers used a Pepperidge Farms Biscotti can). Once constructed, the “cantenna” is connected by a cable to a Wi-Fi card which is then accessed by the Raspberry Pi. The software can then cut the signal between user and drone or even take control of it.
Chapman, who is also an active duty Army Cyber Warfare officer, said that such homegrown builds may soon blow up within the amateur hacking community.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg — there are a number of things that an attacker could do — modifying or deleting system files, intercepting video and sensor feeds, rerouting the drone to alternate locations, or a combination of these,” Chapman said.
He added that hacker/maker Samy Kamkar has already released a project “designed to allow an attacker drone to autonomously seek out any Parrot drones within Wi-Fi range, disconnect the real user and initiate a new connection that is controlled by the attacker drone.”
“The end result essentially is an army of zombie drones,” Chapman said.
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