U.S. Warns of Spy Dangers of Chinese-Made Drones


U.S. Warns of Spy Dangers of Chinese-Made Drones

Is there anything that is still secret in our digital world today? How secure is your everyday movements, day to day routines and most intimate information? Are we really protected by firewalls and passwords to secure our most precious information? Have we become so gullible to accept the big banners on software promotions promising just that?

Obviously, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the people in the know don’t think so. The Department of Homeland Security issued a warning that drones manufactured by Chinese companies could pose a security risks, including that the data they gather could be stolen.

The Chines Communist Party enforced a national-intelligence law in 2017 making it obligatory for Chinese citizens and companies to support its national-intelligence activities.

The most sold drones in U.S. and North America are manufactured in China with DJI Technology being the biggest distributor. DJI Technology has a market share of almost 80%, according to an industry analysis.

Lanier Watkins, a cyber-research scientist at Johns Hopkins University’s Information Security Institute, said his team discovered vulnerabilities in DJI’s drones.

“We could pull information down and upload information on a flying drone,” Watkins said. “You could also hijack the drone. Someone who was interested in, you know, where a certain pipeline network was or maybe the vulnerabilities in a power utilities’ wiring might be able to access that information,” he noted.

The vulnerabilities stem from the server hosting the drone management and maintenance information. According to DJI, random information regarding location, flight information and video clips are uploaded to the server and is vulnerable to hacking (or sharing with the Chinese Intelligence).

This prompted the U.S. Army to bar the use of DJI’s drones in 2017.

The DHS drone alert comes a week after an executive order from President Donald Trump effectively banning the sale of Huawei telecoms equipment in the US.

Image by Thomas Ehrhardt from Pixabay

Bianca Van der Watt

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