Icarus Box: Ultimate drone hijacker can end drone-nuisance
To get hold of unidentified, unwanted and non-regulated drone flights, security researcher Jonathan Andersson has developed a device that can hijack various types of drones in their mid-flight. The technology can snatch the controls from the owner or user, rendering the user-remote control a dead-peace of hardware. Instead of taking down the drone like Drone Munition 12 gauge 3” shot shell rounds, here we are talking about taking over total control of the drone without damaging it.
Andersson at the Trend Micro DVLab calls his invention the Icarus box. It can hijack any drone using the popular DSMx radio platform. In fact, most of the drones available in the market like Walkera, NineEagles or AirTonics use DSMx.
The Icarus box work well, which was aptly demonstrated at the PacSec hacking conference held in Japan on Wednesday.
Full flight control is achieved with the target experiencing a complete loss of control — it’s a clean switch-over,
Andersson told the Register.
The range of my proof of concept implementation is equal to a standard DSMx radio transmitter, though standard 2.4GHz ISM band amplification can be applied to extend the range,
He further explained.
Icarus is capable of determining the unique shared secret key within the DSMx binding process by observing the protocol and brute force. In this case, hijacker gains complete control of the drone and at the same time prevent the user gain back the controls, a timing attack injects commands.
As drone technologies are getting inexpensive, people have begun to fly them as toys for recreational purpose or to take aerial photographs; sometimes, with no regard to privacy of individuals. So, they are become the nuisance of future. If you remember a drone had caused obstruction in fire-fighting team trying to control wildfire in northeast of Los Angeles in 2015. The helicopter was grounded for about half-an-hour as some amateur user hovered over the location in hope of a good shot.
In another report, the case of 65-years-old lady had highlighted breach of privacy. The lady had shot down an unknown drone buzzing over her property.
Moreover, drone flights poses further risk when being operated over crowded, urban habitats. It was evident that security researchers would come up with something like Icarus Box to deal with it.