What is Drone Cybersecurity?
Drones have increasingly become a resource that businesses can use for many purposes such as marketing, safety, security, data collection, entertainment, and more. Unfortunately, drone security development and implementation has not kept pace with the development and implementation of drone cyberattacks, so it is critical to consider how your drone may be vulnerable to cyberattacks in order to protect your equipment and data. The following are examples of how drones can be used as weapons:
Stealth drones. Stealth drones can evade detection by radar or sonar, allowing them to appear innocuous, but they actually contain cameras that can transmit sensitive information about their targets.
Weaponized drones. Weaponized drones contain deadly payloads such as explosives or hazardous chemicals. Drones are often preferred over rockets as they are flexible, precise, and less costly.
Drone swarms. SWARM is an acronym for Smart Array of Configurable Modules. Drone swarms are programmed to autonomously carry out tasks which can include relentlessly assaulting a target with the objectives of creating chaos, diverting attention, and/or carrying out direct attacks.
Drones can be hacked by:
GPS spoofing. Cyberattackers can feed drones false GPS coordinates and overtake full control of the platform. Hijacked drones can also be used to hijack other drones, similar to how botnets perform DDoS attacks.
Downlink intercept. Downlink intercept allows a cyberattacker to access all data that is transmitted between the drone and the computer, providing the cyberattacker with access to sensitive data drone exchanges that may include images, videos, and flight routes.
Data exploitation. Drones can overcome physical security and cybersecurity infrastructure by using an attached miniature computer to discreetly approach sensitive areas where they can mimic a Wi-Fi network to steal data, perform keylogging operation, hijack Bluetooth peripherals, and compromise access points, devices, and unsecured networks.
Tips for mitigating drone threats and securing your drones include:
- Updating drone firmware and applying manufacturer-issued patches;
- Using strong passwords for the base station application;
- Keeping smartphones or laptops used as droned computers secure and free of malware;
- Subscribing to a VPN service to encrypt your drone’s connection;
- Using updated anti-virus software for drone controller devices;
- Limiting the number of devices that can connect to the base station;
- Using a VPN if you are working on Wi-Fi;
- Changing the default username and passwords on your Wi-Fi router;
- Securing all IoT devices;
- Using the “Return to Home” (RTH) mode to ensure drone recovery from a hijacking event.